In performance highlights for Q1 FY2021 consolidated, circulation revenue stood at Rs 928-million as against Rs 1,314-million in Q1 FY2020. Advertising revenue stood at Rs 1,070-million as against Rs 4,420-million. Total Revenue came in at Rs 2157-million as against Rs 6112-million in Q1 FY2020.
The operating loss stood at Rs 278-million as against profit of Rs 1,796-million (margin of 29%). Net loss stood at Rs 480-million as against profit of Rs 937-million (margin of 15.3).
During the quarter, the Dainik Bhaskar Group faced the challenging market conditions head-on and put together a well-thought out strategy to fortify a solid foundation based on an adaptive editorial strategy and a responsive circulation strategy to combat the unprecedented impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The results of the first quarter are indicative of the current disrupted business environment, and the focus has been on safeguarding profitability and maintaining the strong liquidity position of the company, which should enable it to pivot its growth strategies for the second half of the year and beyond. Both circulation and advertising revenues have shown signs of gradual pick up on a month-on-month basis as lockdown restrictions are easing out in various states and the overall economy too is gradually getting back on track.
Advertising performance is improving month on month. In April 2020, it reached 19% of last year’s performance, in May it improved to 20%, in June to 32% and in July, it has been able to achieve 53% of last year.
Further, due to softer newsprint rates and lower consumption along with strong cost controls measures, after witnessing an operating loss in April, which got substantially reduced in May, the month of June clocked a positive EBIDTA. The print EBIDTA margin further improved to around 20% in July 2020.
On the circulation front, the company’s efforts to educate readers through awareness campaigns by experts paid off well. Circulation copies increased to 76% by 30 June and to 78% per day by the end of July, thus registering continuous pick up in circulation. Currently, circulation is 81% at overall level with key markets including Rajasthan, reaching 84% of pre-Covid level.
On the operating cost front, newsprint rates continue to be soft with almost 4% quarter-on-quarter drop in Q1FY21 to Rs 35,850 is likely further correct by around 1-2% in coming quarters.
Sudhir Agarwal, managing director, DB Corp, said, “In what has proven to be an intractable business environment, we are thankful that the Dainik Bhaskar Group’s fundamentals continue to remain strong. Our company’s focus on implementing a centrally-managed multi-pronged strategy to deal with the pandemic has ensured that our operations continued with minimal disruptions, while adhering to the government’s guidelines for health and safety of our stakeholders. As India’s largest newspaper group, our employees and operations reacted with agility to the extraordinary challenges faced due to the widespread economic disruption and uncertainty.”
He added that the pandemic has had an impact on our results in the quarter, but all of the company’s efforts, including embarking on cost-cutting programmes are intended not only to deal with the short-term needs but also to ensure that the company is well-equipped to prosper in a decidedly different business environment. “Economic activity in tier-II and tier-III towns has already begun its path to normalcy and Dainik Bhaskar’s strong position in these markets will help quicken the pace of our return to pre-Covid levels. We believe, worst is behind us and we are determined and working hard to recover the previous quarter’s operating losses within next quarter,” he concludes.