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HT Media’s Shine EBITDA loss down to Rs 8 crore from Rs 20 crore last year

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Media company HT Media said that it has reduced losses in its online job portal Shine to Rs 8 crore from Rs 20 crore in the same period last year. In a call with analysts, the company said Shine was the only loss-making digital business in the company. This quarter, Shine managed to trim the fat by cutting its marketing spends.

Answering a query, Sandeep Jain, head of strategy of HT Media said that the company is done with additional marketing spends on Shine. “Yeah, very clearly we have passed that phase and I think today the focus is really to be able to see how we can improve the operations in terms of the top line and start containing losses effectively,” he said.

Last quarter, HT Media said it would bring down its losses in digital by least 50% in 2017. Its CFO Vinay Mittal said that they intend to bring segment loss of Rs 64 crores down to half in 2017 (rather, FY17). Overall HT Media expects to bring losses from the digital segment down to Rs 25-27 crore. 

Other notes from the call

1. Cost cutting at the company: HT Media said that it would be undertaking cost cutting measures for the year “across businesses and across locations” but declined to give specifics. “We have just embarked on this a couple of weeks ago and the only commitment is to look at every cost line for possible savings. As of now, it is difficult to say where this cost optimization or cost reductions are going to come from,” Jain added.

2. Ecommerce contributed to less than 5% of ads: HT Media said that ecommerce contributed less than 5% to the print ad revenues. “It’s obviously been hit this quarter; but by and large there has not been a very substantial change in the volumes for e-commerce as a percentage of total,” Jain explained to analysts.

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“Overall education, real estate, e-commerce, BFSI and FMCG are the categories which have been the laggards,” he added.

3. Acquisitions in print and vernacular languages: Jain said that HT Media’s print spin-off, Hindustan Media Ventures Limited (HMVL), would be considering acquisitions in the print space or vernacular space only. “We are aware that we are sitting on this cash but we are maintaining this cash chest because we are still very, very open to looking at acquisitions, possible acquisitions in the print or vernacular space and that is one of the reasons why we are holding this cash in HMVL,” he said.

4. Shine seen as alternate to Naukri: Jain said that Shine was clearly seen as the second best job site in terms of traffic and user base. “I think for Monster, there’s been a little bit of lack of focus. So to quite an extent we are becoming a good alternate to Naukri. That is basically what we are going to capitalize on and that is what is going to give us the growth in revenues in the coming years and I think over a period of time, obviously we hope to bridge the gap with Naukri and clearly with the fact that it is now the number two site, we believe that it is getting so much more traction from clients.”

Last month, Monster was acquired by human resources (HR) consulting network Randstad for $429 million. The deal represents a per-share price of $3.40, down significantly from the company’s peak share value of $91 in the year 2000.

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