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Print media shares in focus; DB Corp, HT Media, Jagran rally up to 18%

The print sector has been on the uptrend over the past few months and this is likely to continue on the back of strong advertising revenues, driven by elections, government spending etc.

Netflix-ication of print media? Publishers rediscover the reader

SI Reporter Mumbai

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Shares of companies engaged in print media business rallied up to 18 per cent amid heavy volumes, in an otherwise weak market, after DB Corp reported a strong set of numbers for the quarter ended June 2023 (Q1FY24).

Besides DB Corp, HT Media, and Jagaran Prakashan, too, hit their respective 52-week highs on the BSE in Friday's intra-day trade. In comparison, the S&P BSE Sensex was down 1.3 per cent at 66,724 at 02:24 PM.

The stock of DB Corp surged 18 per cent to Rs 233 in the intra-day trade after the company’s consolidated profit after tax (PAT) more-than-doubled, growing a strong 154 per cent year-on-year (YoY), to Rs 78.8 crore from Rs 31 crore.

DB Corp is India’s largest print media company and home to flagship newspapers - Dainik Bhaskar, Divya Bhaskar, Divya Marathi and Saurashtra Samachar.

DB Corp said all of its segments are firing from all cylinders, delivering robust ad growth. Print & other business advertising registered a growth of around 18 per cent YoY to Rs 358.4 crore from Rs 305.1 crore.

Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (Ebitda) registered a growth of 84 per cent YoY in Q1FY24 to Rs 135.9 crore on account of impressive revenue growth as well as continued cost control including softening newsprint prices. Ebitda margin expended by 900 basis points to 24 per cent during the quarter.

On the Advertising front, traditional advertisers such as Education, Real Estate, Government, Jewellery, Health etc. continue to use print as their preferred medium. The auto sector is also witnessing a resurgence and is expected to show good growth in the forthcoming quarters, the company said. Meanwhile, newsprint prices continued their downward trend in Q1FY24 and the management is hopeful that this trend will continue based on their assessment.

Along with ad revenue growth, the company has been focused on cost optimisation and over the last 4-6 months have also been helped with easing newsprint prices. This has helped the company to deliver its fifth quarter of consistent growth across all segments and, the management is confident of continuing this trend in the forthcoming quarters.

The print sector has been on the uptrend over the past few months and this is likely to continue. Rating agency CRISIL pegs this growth at about 15-17 per cent on the back of strong advertising revenues, driven by elections, government spending, and consumer demand across traditional and digital sectors. While English language print has been struggling with sluggish demand, regional newspapers seem to be faring better.

Besides DB Corp, the stock price of HT Media, too, hit a 52-week high of Rs 26.22, zooming 18 per cent in the intra-day trade. Average trading volumes on the counter jumped nearly 10-fold today with 588,000 shares having changed hands thus far on the BSE.

Shares of Jagran Prakshan, publishers of ‘Dainik Jagran’, India’s largest read newspaper, also soared 9 per cent to Rs 111.77 on the BSE. In the past two trading days, the stock has zoomed 25 per cent, while shares of Hindustan Media Ventures were locked in the 5 per cent upper circuit at Rs 67.51.

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First Published: Jul 21 2023 | 2:50 PM IST

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