Hindustan Media Ventures, which publishes Hindustan, the Hindi newspaper from the Hindustan Times Group, continued to report a deterioration in its financial performance in Jan-Mar, in keeping with a negative trend in the print newspaper industry.
The company’s consolidated operating revenue for January-March fell sharply by about 14% compared to the same three months of 2017. Compared to the preceding October-December quarter, revenue declined by 12%.
Operating profit (EBITDA) fell to Rs 52 cr from Rs 74 cr a year ago and Rs 80 cr in the preceding quarter.
Net profit was saved from an abrupt decline by a timely tax write-back.
The company earned net profit of Rs 40 cr for Jan-Mar, compared to Rs 49 cr in the preceding three months and Rs 42 cr in the year-ago period.
Revenue from operations was Rs 202 cr in the fourth quarter, down from 234 cr in the year-ago period and Rs 230 in the preceding quarter.
The revenue decline is largely in line with what is seen for other print-focused media groups. Print media in India is seeing declines in its fortunes as advertising rupees shift to alternate media like the Internet and radio.
Despite the sharp fall in revenue, there was no big reduction in key operating costs.
Cost of materials, mostly newsprint, increased to Rs 87.2 cr this year from Rs 81.3 cr last year.
Employee costs moderated to Rs 24.48 cr from Rs 24.83 cr last year.
One big area of saving was ‘other expenses’, where the company managed to save about Rs 7 cr compared to last year.