Q2 appears to have been flat, but that’s not a bad thing given the downturn. While HT declined to give specifics, they said that the numbers are around the same as last quarter – 10.5 million pageviews, and Rs. 70 lakh per month in terms of revenues.
The management appears to be backtracking on the statement they’d made in the last earnings call, about the online business being Rs. 100 crores in a year and a half. I’d asked them about whether there’s been a change in the outlook, given the downturn. The response “We realize that Internet is the business of the future, and our strategy is very clear: as it has happened in all the global countries, classifieds will move slowly from print to the website, and we have to make sure that that business does not go to anybody else. Which is why you’ve seen the launch of Shine, the jobs site. We’ll roll out the other classifieds sites with time.
We’ve heard about HT Media planning to launch an education portal. In response to my question, HT was vague – saying that they’ll get some clarity on the verticals, including education, in the next 3-6 months. They did confirm that they are “actively considering” the education domain. “We keep on evaluating these things as we go, and there are not enough revenues right now for us to be looking critically in terms of returns etc. from these business separately.
Firefly: Shine & Desimartini
Too premature to share revenue numbers, since the portal is around 6 months old. The resume database/registrations are at around 1.2 million. Update: A majority of the Rs. 33.5 crores of the investment in FireFly so far has been spent on Shine.com. I asked about DesiMartini and HT said that the “less than $10 million tag” was an error, a minuscule amount was spent on the acquisition, and almost all of the overall investment has been in Shine. They declined to state the exact amount. Incidentally, it appears that the Desimartini.com redesign went live, just in time for the HT Media Earnings call. (Full disclosure: Desimartini was acquired by HT from my cousin Vivek Pahwa)
Has been performing very well. In terms of pageviews, obviously we are not at the level that moneycontrol is at this point in time. We’ve just started the video section where we show live videos, which has been very encouraging. At this point in this, LiveMint makes around Rs. 35-40 lakhs per month. “Unfortunately, we are in a market scenario which is challenging not just for print media. In a good time, we definitely believe it’s a good business to be in, and sooner rather than later we’ll be able to leverage that property more aggressively.
Is still in the drawing board stage. We’ll only be able to comment on that once the business is up and running.
“These are market rumours and we do not comment on them.”