The circulation team’s continued efforts and focused strategies have enabled the group in achieving currently around 90% of the pre-Covid circulation levels. The company is witnessing continuous improvement in its circulation numbers and expect to gain back most of the copies once normal market operations resume, including running of normal railways and bus services are allowed.
Advertising revenues are reclaiming pre-Covid levels (YOY), and with the festive season providing a strong impetus, the company reached print business advertising at 87% of last year Q3 with festival months of October and November together seen advertising revenue achievement of 95%. The print business EBITDA in Q3 FY2021 stood at Rs 1,699-million (EBIDTA margin of 36.8%) as against Rs. 1,380 (EBIDTA margin of 24.7%) million last year, which translated into an EBITDA margin expansion by almost 1,200 basis points, underscoring the benefits of improved economic performance, soft newsprint prices and cost cutting measures. The consolidated revenue for Q3 FY2021 came in at Rs 4,966-million, which registered a growth of 42% compared to the previous quarter.
Dainik Bhaskar continues to set milestones of publishing ‘Mega Editions’ across its major markets like Sikar (172 pages); Rajkot (160 pages); Shimla (144 pages); Bikaner (130 pages); Indore (128 pages); Ahmedabad (80 pages); Raipur (80 pages); Khandwa (84 pages); Bhopal (72 pages); Rewari (78 pages); Jamshedpur (76 pages); Ujjain (60 pages); Hoshangabad (60 pages); Jhunjhunu (60 pages); Sagar (60 pages); Bilaspur (54 pages), which is a strong testament to not only the prowess of the group, but the fact that economic revival emanating from tier-II and III cities for Dainik Bhaskar Group, are leading the growth trajectory of the overall economic revival which is also reflected in December 2020 GST collection figures with Dainik Bhaskar Group Markets posting a stellar growth of 10% YOY which is higher than the growth for All-India GST collection of 6.7% YOY.
While the sector has been witnessing changes even pre-Covid, the on-going pandemic has further strengthened two clear emerging trends. The first is, print media continues to dominate the mindspace of the reader when it comes to fact-based trustworthy and credible reporting, especially in an era where widespread fake news makes it difficult for a reader to discern. This is also confirmed by the Ormax News Credibility Index 2020 in September, the Kantar Trust in News Study in November 2020 and the ASCI Trust Study in December 2020. The second is, the growth of the Indian Language newspapers that are showing great resilience in circulation and ad-revenues, on back of fast normalisation of tier-II and tier-III cities which are leading overall India’s economic growth. This is also confirmed by the EY Non Metro Report in July 2020.
Sudhir Agarwal, managing director, DB Corp, said, “The fiscal 2021 has undoubtedly been a challenging and difficult year for all of us. With the brightest minds in the world working together, there finally seems to be some light at the end of this long and arduous tunnel and hopefully the widespread availability of the vaccine will help all of us get a semblance of normalcy back in our lives.”
Adding that for Dainik Bhaskar Group, the advertising revenues have seen a significant increase, Agarwal said, “Our sustainable cost optimisation measures have given us permanent gains and this is reflected in improved operating performance. We are hopeful that this will set the pace for the forthcoming fiscal.”