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HT Media net profit up 194% YoY for Q4FY18, print still accounts for majority revenue

HT Media reported a net profit of Rs 75 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 (Q4 FY18), up 194% from Rs 25.5 crore in the same quarter last year, and down 40% from Rs 124.3 crore in the previous quarter. The decline in ad revenue did, however, have an impact on operating revenues for the quarter, which declined marginally, by 4.1% on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, to Rs 561 crore from Rs 585 crore.

This significant increase in net profit on a yearly basis is partly because the company continues to reduce its expenses every quarter. In Q4 FY18, total expenses stood at Rs 532 crore, as compared to Rs 567.7 crore in the same quarter last year.

Note that the previous year was tumultuous for HT Media as it pulled shutters on four editions and three bureaus, including its business bureau in Mumbai and Delhi, laying off an unknown number of journalists. Many estimate that 150 journalists were forced to resign from the company. However, in November, it said that it is done with its ‘cost-optimization’ in its print editions. However, employee benefit expenses stood stable at Rs 130 crore from Rs 129.9 crore in the previous quarter.

Multimedia Content Management segment

The segment posted revenue of Rs 4.4 crore, absolute flat from Rs 4.4 crore in the same quarter last year. The segment posted a profit of Rs 76 lakh as compared to the loss of Rs 2.2 crore last year. Note that HT Media had transferred the Multimedia Content Management business to HT Digital Streams Limited last year, which came into effect from March 31, 2016.

Digital segment

Digital revenues also declined by 26%, at Rs 28.7 crore this quarter from Rs 38.8 crore in the same quarter last year. On a sequential basis, it remained flat as the digital revenues in the previous quarter stood at Rs 28 crore. The segment posted a loss of Rs 17 crore, as compared to a loss of Rs 6.5 crore in Q4 FY17 and a loss of Rs 9.9 crore in Q3 FY18.

The job portal Shine, HT Campus and Digital Quotient businesses will continue to stay in HT Media as subsidiaries.

Print segment

Though the print business still accounts for majority of HT Media’s revenues, in Q4 FY18 revenue for the segment stood at Rs 496.3 crore, marginally down 0.74% from Rs 500 crore in the same quarter last year and Rs 529.4 crore in the previous quarter.

The segment posted a profit of Rs 7.6 crore for the quarter, up 36% from Rs 5.6 crore profit reported in Q4 FY17, and dip of 33% from the Rs 11.4 crore profit posted in the previous quarter.

Investment in Editorji

HT Media has invested Rs 10 crore in digital media firm Editorji Technologies Pvt Ltd (ETPL) by way of subscription to equity share of ETPL. Editorji is a news mobile app. The company is founded by NDTV’s ex Group CEO & Executive Director Vikram Chandra, and focuses on dissemination of news via mobile app. According to this portal, the company uses robotics and AI to do so.

CEO Steps down

Rajiv Verma, Chief Executive Officer of HT Media has stepped down from his position. He will continue to be the Board of Directors. The company said in its BSE filing that it has initiated the process of finding another CEO.

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