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(By Nikhil Pahwa and Preethi J)

Media company HT Media has posted a Net Profit of Rs 234.3 million for the quarter ending March 31st 2009, despite marginal growth in stand alone net sales of Rs 3338.2 million from the previous quarter. Net sales grew by 6.53% from the corresponding quarter last year. Earnings per share rose sharply to Re 1 from Rs 0.33 in the previous quarter.

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That revenues for HT Media have remained flat quarter on quarter is a positive sign, particularly helped by a 12 percent reduction in raw material costs. According to the company, total revenue in Q4 grew primarily on account of Rs. 74 million from the merger of the radio business effective January 1 2009, and more importantly – a year on year 5% increase in advertising revenue for the publishing segment from Rs. 2,655 million in Q408 to Rs. 2,797 million in Q409.

Net profit has dropped by 41% from the last fiscal to Rs. 852 million while net sales grew by 12% to Rs. 13,320 million for the group.

HT Media owns Hindustan Times, Mint, three subsidiaries and Fever 104 FM, a radio channel it acquired in March. It’s subsidiary Firefly E-Ventures runs the job portal Shine.com and social networking site Desimartini.com. HT Media has a tie-up with Velti Inc for a mobile marketing company.

Details: Release| Financials

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Internet Business Reports Loss of Rs. 457.4 million

HT Media has reported Internet revenues of Rs. 9.9 million for the year ended, and a significant loss (before interest and tax) for the segment at Rs. 457.4 million.

The segment loss has increased from Rs. 398.2 million for the last fiscal, even as capital employed declined from Rs. 54.8 million to Rs. 46.8 million. During the quarter, the company invested Rs. 120 million in Firefy E-Ventures ltd, taking the total investment in the company to Rs. 550 million (i.e. Rs. 55 crores).

Shine.com has crossed 2.2 million registered users, and launched educational segment Campus.shine.com recently. They’re looking to focus on their print offering “Shine Weekly”

Consolidation: HT Digital Media

During the quarter, the company consolidated all of its Internet, Mobile and new media businesses under a holding company called HT Digital Media Holdings Ltd (HT Digital). Consequently, Firefly has been transferred to this subsidiary. HT Media also incorporated HT Mobile Solutions Ltd (HT Mobile) on February 19th 2009, as a subsidiary of HT Digital.

Radio Biz In Losses


logo_feverS. Keerthivasan, CEO, HT Music and Entertainment told ContentSutra recently that Fever 104 FM had broken even, but the radio network has in fact posted losses (before tax and interest) of Rs 20.9 million over stand alone revenues of Rs. 73.4 million for the quarter. On a consolidated basis, the division has recorded losses (before tax and interest) of Rs. 297.2 million. It saw a 15% rise in revenues to Rs 296.8 million from the corresponding quarter last year.

Mint

HT Media’s business daily Mint claims to have witnessed a growth in readership of 25% to 175,000 across India. HT Media plans to launch Mint in Kolkata next, shortly, and other editions during the year.

Raw Material Costs

The cost of newsprint had been of significant concern to media companies: given that HT Media keeps a buffer of newsprint of around 6 months, a decline in newsprint prices hasn’t been reflected in its books: there has been a marginal decline in raw materials consumption costs from Rs 1462.8 million in Q3 to Rs 1282.5 million. Compared to the previous year, raw material costs have increased by 19% to Rs 5402 million.

A year since HT Media announced its joint venture with Germany media group Hubert Burda Media to offer commercial print services, HT Burda Media will begin its services by end of this year from Greater Noida.

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