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HT Media plans digital acquisitions


We missed this earlier: Media company HT Media is planning more digital acquisitions to strengthen its existing digital offerings.

Responding to an analyst question on whether HT Media has any plans to acquire startups in the digital segment, during the company’s Q1-FY15 earnings conference call, HT Media’s chief financial strategist Vinay Mittal mentioned that they would be looking for inorganic growth to strengthen their existing digital investments like Shine (recruitment business), HT Campus (education marketplace and lead generation engine for private college admissions) and HT Mobile solutions (mobile and social advertising).

Mittal mentions that HT Media is open to acquiring companies to foray into a new segment, but at present, they are focused on making their existing digital investments break-even.

HT Media’s digital acquisitions

Note that HT Media has made two digital acquisitions in the past couple of years:

– It acquired 40% stake in the social recruitment platform MyParichay in December 2012. Following this, Shine.com introduced Facebook integration on its site, effectively allowing users to leverage their network on Facebook for either applying for a job, being referred to a job, referring a friend for a job or powering recruitment pages for companies on Facebook. MyParichay also introduced social retargeting service earlier in March this year.

– HT Mobile Solutions acquired the digital marketing firm Webitude for an undisclosed amount in July last year. Webitude provides services such as Social Media marketing, social media asset builder, social CRM, and digital media services among others.

Digital accounts for only 3.1% of HT Media’s revenues in FY14

Mittal mentions that digital has performed well, registering a 40% revenue growth year-on-year (YoY) in Q1-FY15. Shine.com had registered a 41% YoY revenue growth while HT Mobile had registered a 54% revenue growth for the quarter.

However, it is still a loss making business with the segment posting Rs 12.19 crore loss in Q1-FY15, an improvement from Rs 17.04 crore loss in the same quarter last year.

It also worth noting that the contribution of digital revenues to HT Media’s overall revenues is quite small. For the financial year ended March 31, 2014 (FY14), Digital accounted for only 3.12% of the company’s overall revenues, up from 2.32% contribution in FY13. In comparison, HT Media’s printing and publishing business accounted for 90.3% to the company’s total revenues for the fiscal.

Metrics being tracked

Mittal mentions that starting from Q3 this fiscal, it will be tracking revenue traction and ensuring that the negative EBITDA keeps decreasing every quarter. In terms of Shine.com, the company is apparently focused on bringing its live resume database (resumes added/refreshed in the last six months) closer to the market leader Naukri*. While Mittal didn’t disclose any specific numbers on this, he claimed that their database is certainly second at the moment, better than Monster and Timesjobs.

Besides this, HT media is also focusing on recruitment through social platforms since it apparently helps them target the corporate segment. Mittal claims that they are signing “marquee clients” for this service, although he didn’t disclose any specific names. He also claims that they are currently the leader in social recruitment. (Also readHow Shine.com is trying to disrupt the job classifieds business with Facebook integration)

Disclosure: Naukri parent Info Edge (India) is an advertiser with MediaNama

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