HT Media, the publisher of Hindustan Times and Mint newspapers, reported disappointing advertisement sales for the Apr-Jun quarter, and said corporations were not spending on ads due to poor earnings growth.
The company generated only Rs 221 cr during the three months from advertisement sales at its English newspapers Hindustan Times and Mint, a decline of 9% over last year’s Rs 243 cr.
Compared to the preceding Jan-Mar quarter, advertising revenue from the English newspapers were down 18%.
“Advertising budgets continued to shrink, affecting growth despite a favourable base effect,” said chairperson Shobhana Bhartia.
It said it saw “muted ad spends” in sectors such as government, auto, retail, entertainment and finance, while real estate and e-commerce showed growth.
“National spends muted over last year,” HT Media said.
Bhartia said revenue growth was hit by “persisting macroeconomic challenges. “Although the impact of RERA and GST implementation are both waning, with businesses getting used to them,” she added.
She also said there could be some “short-term pressure on both growth and profitability” for the company.
The company, which gets about 40% of its print revenue from its Hindi newspaper Hindustan, also saw year-on-year declines in advertising revenue, but ad revenue in Hindi improved from the sudden dip seen in the Jan-Mar quarter.
Year-on-year, Hindi ad sales were down 5% at Rs 168 cr, but were up 13% compared to the Jan-Mar quarter.
Jan-Mar had been a particularly bad period for the Hindi newspaper.
Despite the sequential increase in Hindi print ad revenue, the run rate is still slightly below the company’s quarterly average.
In this segment too, it reported ‘muted spends’ in government, classifieds, retail, health, durables and finance, while e-commerce, real estate, auto and FMCG reported ‘pick up’.
“Despite poor base, there was hardly any growth in education category,” it said.
Meanwhile, radio revenue continued to grow, powered by the inauguration of new stations.
Revenue, which is almost entirely from ad sales, rose 12% on year to Rs 47 cr, while EBIT margin was at 11% compared to 5% last year.