Dainik Bhaskar group sees ad revenue fall 76%

DB Corp Q1-FY21 performance

DB Corp, the company that owns the Dainik Bhaskar daily and My FM radio network, said a sharp fall of 76% in its advertising revenues pushed it to a loss in the Apr-Jun period.

DB Corp’s advertising revenue fell to Rs 107 cr from Rs 442 cr for the same quarter of last year.

The bigger decline was seen in the radio business, where ad revenue fell by 79% to Rs 8 cr from Rs 37.7 cr last year. In the preceding (March) quarter, radio ad revenue was Rs 32.6 cr.

The company’s print business also saw a sharp fall of 76% in its advertising revenue. Print advertising revenue fell to Rs 99 cr from Rs 404 cr last year and Rs 299 cr in the March quarter. In comparison, Hindustan reported a slightly softer 70% YoY decline to Rs 49 cr during the same period.

“Advertising performance is improving month on month,” DB Corp said.

In April, ad sales had fallen by 81% compared to April of 2019, and was still down 80% in May.

However, it was down only 68% in June and only down 47% in July, the company said.

Print circulation revenue too fell, but not by as much.

It came in at Rs 93 cr versus Rs 131 cr last year (down 29%) and Rs 120 cr in the March quarter (down 23% QoQ). In comparison, Hindustan circulation revenue had fallen 23% on year.

As of now, circulation revenue is still down about 19%, DB Corp said.

Total revenue fell by Rs 395 cr year on year to Rs 216 cr. The decline was of Rs 274 cr on quarter.

Against the Rs 395 cr YoY decline seen in revenue, the company was able to bring down its total operating expenses by Rs 188 cr. Operating costs, therefore, fell to Rs 279 cr — a decline of Rs 178 cr versus the March quarter.

Nevertheless, there was still a hole of Rs 64 cr at the operating level.

Thanks to tax reversals of Rs 16 cr, the company’s net loss was reduced to Rs 48 cr.

Out of the total 178 cr of QoQ savings seen in operating expenses, lower newsprint/material costs accounted for 89 cr while ‘other expenses’ accounted for Rs 76 cr. The company also saved Rs 12 cr (12%) in terms of its employee costs.

DB Corp said economic activity is recovering faster in its core Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns.

“We believe the worst is behind us and we are determined and working hard to recover the previous quarter’s operating losses within the next quarter,” MD Sudhir Agarwal said.