hindustan media ventures ltd share price Management discussions

Global Economy

The global economy, on the back of inflation and geopolitical tensions has experienced a slowing growth rate. Powerful economies such as China, the Eurozone, and the U.S. are exhibiting a phase of economic vulnerability. This situation negatively impacts emerging and developing markets. The broad-based monetary policy tightening implemented by advanced economies to mitigate inflation, has impacted the overall global financial climate.

In the latter part of (calendar year) CY 2022, rising inflation and the imposition of monetary tightening led to a slowdown in global output.

The U.S. Federal Reserves decision to increase interest rates resulted in the dollar gaining strength against most other currencies. This development, in turn, widened current account deficits and amplified inflation in economies with a net import balance.

Despite the challenges, the global economy still managed a growth of 3.5% in CY 2022. Growth in emerging and developing economies was around 4.0% in CY 2022 which is a significant decrease from growth of 6.8% that was reported in CY 2021. However, second half of CY 2022, saw gradual alleviation of supply chain pressures indicating potential economic recovery.


Global growth is projected to decline to 3.0% in CY 2023, driven by the lingering impact of the pandemic, hawkish monetary policy, and global military conflicts. A combination of elevated inflation, worsening financial conditions, and increased energy prices presents considerable challenges, particularly for low-income countries and emerging markets.

Trade growth is projected to decrease to 1.7% in CY 2023, reflecting a reduction in global demand.

Concurrently, advanced economies are projected to experience a growth slowdown to 1.5% in CY 2023, with a modest recovery expected in 2024 as policy-related challenges diminish.

In spite of these adversities, resilience is evident in global economies, bolstered by healthy household spending, corporate investments, and stable labour markets. In several nations, inflation rates have started to decline.

Indian Economy

The National Statistical Office (NSO) of India projects a GDP growth of 7.2% for the (fiscal year) FY 2022-23, predominantly fuelled by private consumption and investment. This momentum is further reinforced by strategic government policies, enhanced labour market conditions, and rising consumer confidence.

However, the inflation rate has remained tenaciously high, projected at around 6.5%-6.7% for FY 2022-23, largely due to global macroeconomic influences. Despite these challenges, Indias growth rate of 7.2% for FY 2022-23 exceeds the projections from both the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the World Bank, solidifying Indias position as one of the fastest- growing economies.

Looking to the future, optimistic outlooks are projected for the manufacturing, services, and agricultural sectors, which are set to boost domestic consumption further. The enhancement of business and consumer confidence, coupled with accelerated credit expansion, are poised to play crucial roles in supporting economic growth. Government initiatives, such as financial inclusion policies, rural demand stimulus, the Make in India campaign, and support for start-ups are expected to generate significant job opportunities. This, in turn, is likely to increase disposable income, thereby stimulating consumer demand.

In terms of corporate debt, India stands in contrast to many countries with a lower debt-to-GDP ratio, underscoring the resilience of its corporate sector. This robust debt profile has played an instrumental role in preserving Indias overall macroeconomic stability.


Indias economic recovery following the pandemic is progressing led by vigorous domestic demand and enhanced capital investments. The Economic Survey projects a baseline GDP growth of 6.5% for FY 2023-24. This positive projection is rooted in supportive credit provisions, favourable investment cycles and the widespread adoption of public digital platforms. Government initiatives such as industry-focused and production-linked programs are expected to stimulate manufacturing output.

With energy costs under control and international supply chains reopening, inflation is projected to decline, providing an additional boost for growth.

The improving financial health of businesses and the banking sector sets the stage for accelerated growth in FY 2023-24, facilitated by robust loan distribution and capital investments. The decreasing urban unemployment rate, alongside the rise in Employee Provident Fund registrations, too suggests that private consumption and capital formation will serve as key contributors to Indias economic advancement in FY 2023-24.


Indian Media and Entertainment Industry

In CY 2022, the Indian media and entertainment (M&E) industry demonstrated a remarkable recovery from the impact of the pandemic experienced in previous years, returning to its growth trajectory from before the pandemic. The sector saw significant expansion, increasing by INR 348 billion — a growth of 19.9% — to reach a total of INR 2.1 trillion. This figure exceeds its pre-pandemic levels from CY 2019 by 10%.

Despite the evolving landscape, television continues to dominate as the most significant component of the media and entertainment industry. Meanwhile, digital media has further consolidated its strong second position. Print media, experiencing a resurgence, has claimed the third spot. The filmed entertainment sector has also bounced back due to an increase in theatrical releases, surpassing online gaming to reclaim its fourth position. Traditional media—which includes television, print, filmed entertainment, out-of-home (OOH) advertising, music, and radio—accounted for 58% of the M&E sectors revenues in CY 2022. This statistic implies a shifting trend towards digital media and other emerging segments.

The video Over-The-Top (OTT) segment is anticipated to become increasingly prominent in the creation, distribution, and promotion of entertainment media content. OTT streaming platforms persist in offering a wide range of high-quality and specialized content for audiences.


Looking forward to CY 2023, forecasts suggest that the Media & Entertainment (M&E) sector will grow by 11.5% to reach a value of INR 2.34 trillion. Moreover, the sector is expected to maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5%, rising to INR 2.83 trillion by CY 2025. This growth is likely to be largely fuelled by digital media, online gaming, and television, which are collectively projected to account for 65% of the growth. Other significant contributors will include animation and VFX (11%), live events (8%), and films (8%). By 2025, the number of daily active users of smart connected TVs is anticipated to exceed 40 million.

Despite changes in the media landscape, print media remains a crucial component for effective brand building and reaching educated and affluent audiences.

The aggregation of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms is poised to serve as a key growth accelerator for Connected TV (CTV). Moreover, entertainment OTT platforms, including sports, are projected to generate approximately INR 60 billion in advertising revenue by 2025. The trend of bundling various OTT platforms by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecommunications companies, among others, is likely to gather speed.

Simultaneously, the changing consumer demand for personalization is altering the landscape of the media and entertainment industry. Users are increasingly seeking immersive and enriching experiences when interacting with media and entertainment content. In light of these trends, the Indian M&E sector is primed for considerable growth in the coming years. Adaptation to shifting consumer preferences and the adoption of innovative technologies will be central to determining the industrys future trajectory. Overall, the Indian M&E sector offers a promising future filled with substantial growth prospects.


In CY 2022, the print sector experienced a growth of 10%, recovering to 85% of its revenue level prior to the pandemic. Nevertheless, hurdles such as escalating newsprint costs, geopolitical tensions like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and depreciation of the Indian Rupee continue to apply pressure on newsprint prices, consequently impacting print business margins.

The revival of events and activations presents a promising opportunity for print companies to connect with their audiences through local sponsored and ticketed events. In CY 2022, over 150,000 advertisers and 185,000 brands leveraged print for their advertising, branding, and promotional needs, a marked increase from the 140,000 advertisers and 170,000 brands in CY 2020.

In the near to medium term, the print medium is anticipated to attain stability, fostered by a loyal reader base, largely constituted by the growing demographic of NCCS A audiences who seek trustworthy news and information.

The Print industry is projected to expand to INR 279 billion by CY 2025. Ad revenues from Print industry are projected to grow by 7% for CY 2023 as compared to CY 2022.

Hindi Print Advertising

Hindi publications, despite a slight slump, persist as the top contributors to advertisement volumes. In CY 2022, they were responsible for 38% of total print advertising volume, compared to 40% in CY 2021 and 41% in CY 2020. However, due to its status as the most widely spoken language in India, Hindi remained the major vernacular medium of print advertising. For Hindi and regional publications, advertising in CY 2022 recovered to nearly 90% of their pre-pandemic levels.

Hindi Print Circulation

Hindi dailies continue to garner a lions share of newspaper circulation within the country. The widespread readership and influence of Hindi newspapers emphasise the enduring inclination of a substantial segment of the Indian populace for news and information in vernacular print. However, Hindi language newspaper circulation remains approx. 20% below their pre-pandemic levels for the industry.

Company Overview

Hindustan Media Ventures Limited (HMVL) is part of the Hindustan Times Group and a subsidiary of HT Media Limited - a diversified media company. Hindustan, HMVLs flagship publication, is among Indias largest newspaper dailies, serving a long-standing and extensive readership base.

The Company in keeping up with evolving digital media trends in the country has also ventured into the OTT space with the launch of OTTplay - a OTT aggregator platform.

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Hindustan, boasting a large and diverse readership, stands as one of the countrys most prestigious Hindi daily newspapers. The publication has adeptly evolved alongside a rapidly transforming India, all the while preserving its trusted journalistic tradition and principles. Catering to its broad audience, Hindustan covers a multitude of topics including politics, business, sports, and entertainment, among others. Renowned for its accuracy and reliability, Hindustan plays an instrumental role in molding public sentiment and keeping its readers abreast of the nations latest happenings. For an overgrowing reader base, it remains a trustworthy and primary source of high-caliber news content.

Enjoyed by individuals of all ages, Hindustan has successfully upheld its reputation among readers and advertisers alike. The newspaper holds a dominant position in the Hindi-speaking belt, boasting a high market share in key regions such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and the Delhi-NCR area.


The Indian OTT sector stands out as one of the most rapidly expanding segments within the Media & Entertainment industry. Recognising this potential, Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd. aims to capitalise on this trend through the introduction of OTTplay.com, a platform that consolidates and offers a wide range of OTT content. This platform focuses on delivering abundant content choices, convenience, personalised experiences, and affordability to its users.

Financial Overview (Consolidated)

Revenue from Operations

Revenue from Operations increased by 6.6% in FY 2022-23 to reach INR 713 crores from INR 669 crores in FY 2021-22 on the back of gradual improvement in operating environment.


There was a reduction in Companys EBITDA margin, dropping to -1.1% in FY 2022-23 from 11.6% in FY 2021-22 due to increase in raw material costs and expenses associated with new business initiatives.

Consequently, PAT margin also decreased to -5.1% in FY 2022-23 from 5.8% in FY 2021-22. In line, Return on Networth came in at -2.5% in FY 2022-23 from 2.6% in FY 2021-22 prior fiscal year.

Earnings per Share

Earnings per share dropped to INR -5.2 in FY 2022-23 from INR 5.5 in FY 2021-22 on account of reduced profitability owing to higher raw material costs and new business initiatives.

Debtors Turnover Ratio

Debtors Turnover ratio increased to 6.2 times in FY 2022-23 from 5.7 times in FY 2021-22 due to higher revenue for the fiscal year under consideration, offset by marginal decrease in average account receivables.

Inventory Turnover Ratio

Inventory Turnover ratio increased to 4.5 times in FY 2022-23 from 3.7 times in FY 2021-22 due to rise in raw material cost.

Interest Coverage Ratio

Interest Coverage ratio decreased to -2.4 times as on March 31, 2023 from 6.0 times on March 31, 2022, mainly due to decrease in EBIT level profitability and increase in finance cost in line with elevated interest rate environment.

Current Ratio

Current ratio decreased to 1.2 times in FY 2022-23 from 1.9 times in FY 2021-22, primarily attributable to decrease in current financial investments during the fiscal year.

Debt Equity Ratio

Debt Equity ratio decreased to 0.04 times in FY 2022-23 from 0.07 times in FY 2021-22 due to lower current borrowings for the fiscal.

Debt Service Coverage Ratio

Debt Service Coverage ratio reduced to -0.6 times as on March 31, 2023 from 0.5 times on March 31, 2022, owing to lower earnings before interest & tax, coupled with increase in interest on borrowings.

Editorial Highlights

The Companys flagship Hindi daily, Hindustan, set itself apart through its timely and comprehensive reporting, ground-level narratives, robust data, and analytical pieces. Throughout the year, numerous initiatives undertaken by Hindustan proved highly successful, garnering considerable recognition and prominence for the Company. The following encompasses some noteworthy editorial endeavours of Hindustan.

Bazaro ko Bachaiye

Hindustan ran an extensive “Bazaron ko Bachaiye” campaign in key cities. In the campaign Hindustan visited top 20 markets in the city along with relevant officials and raised issues that were not resolved since long. The issues ranged from parking, encroachment, women toilets, cleanliness and traffic management. Immediate impacts were visible with some on spot solutions by officials and rest of the issues being given a time-line for resolution. The campaign was widely appreciated by the trade unions and consumers alike.

Medical Waste

HMVL has implemented initiatives to address medical waste management in communities, ensuring safe disposal and environmental sustainability focussing on protocols for the collection, segregation and disposal of medical waste. These efforts promote public health, protect the environment, and comply with regulatory guidelines.

Khatam karo Intezar

Hindustan has launched the Khatam karo intezar initiative to highlight the various issues that plague development polices and advancement of local communities. Throughout the year a multitude of concerns in the manner of stalled projects, incomplete initiatives, delayed programs, etc. that directly impact the lives and livelihoods of citizens were highlighted with the single intention to “end the wait”.

Hindustan Aapke Dwar

The Hindustan Aapke Dwar endeavour has been successful in bringing the plight and concerns that plague the common people to the forefront in their interaction with relevant authorities via special meets organized across administrative regions. Such a platform brings relevant government bodies and the impacted populace on a common forum which facilitates smoother solutions to ongoing concerns of the public. Many lives have been made easier over the year through such campaigns.


In the concluded fiscal year, HMVLs circulation business displayed signs of healthy growth. To propel circulation revenue, strategic measures were adopted, such as augmenting cover prices in crucial markets. Moreover, the Company prioritised booking drives and trade interventions. This encompassed implementing trade schemes in certain locations to improve point-of-sale statistics. The Company remains steadfast in its commitment to retaining and further expanding its market share through initiatives targeted in key markets.


The Company provides coverage in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi NCR, Bihar, and Jharkhand through a combination of own, franchise, and outsourced printing facilities.

HMVL continues to focus on key strategies to enhance operations and cost optimisation by initiating multiple approaches aimed at operational efficiency improvement. These include driving total circulation planning programs, prioritising machine overhauls and technical upgrades across ancillary & utility machine parks. Additionally, operational control of various utilities was enhanced, and energy conservation measures were undertaken.


In the year under review, HMVLs procurement strategy was shaped by the obstacles experienced in global supply chains, largely attributed to geopolitical circumstances leading to elevated input expenses and shipping restrictions. As a result, the Companys central focus was the assurance of uninterrupted supply while preserving cost efficiency. In pursuit of this, HMVL prioritised the augmentation of sourcing, notably newsprint, from domestic suppliers, taking advantage of its strong business relationships.

Moreover, the Company maintained the application of tactics such as linear replenishment, the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse & Recycle), and the allotment of orders to cost-effective suppliers to enhance operations and curtail costs. Multiple initiatives were implemented to guarantee a steady newsprint supply, including network optimisation, re-evaluation of inventory norms based on supply conditions, creation of safety stocks, and diligent monitoring of fill rates. For other raw materials, inventory standards were set and a linear replenishment model was adopted to ensure punctual deliveries and tackle supply difficulties.

The Company continues to uphold its commitment to devising strategies such as strengthening vendor collaboration and engaging in price negotiations, aiming to uncover additional opportunities for cost reduction.

Human Resources

The Companys human capital plays a vital role in the growth and success of HMVL. The Company strives to foster a vibrant and diverse workplace that provides equal opportunities for the personal and professional growth of every employee. To enhance the productivity and efficiency of the organisation, the human resource (HR) department focuses on developing skills and competencies of each employee, both in functional areas and in technological capabilities.

As on March 31, 2023, the total employee strength of the Company is 1,138.

HR Initiatives

• The Company relaunched the Journalist of the Month programme across newsrooms to honour exceptional performance. Every month, submissions for the Journalist of the Month award are accepted, and a respected team of judges evaluate them based on ideation, creativity, exclusivity, and overall presentation. The editorial management then selects the outstanding stories for the award.

• To promote honest and transparent communication between employees and the leadership team, the Company conducts various employee connect programmes like townhalls, one-on-one meeting with leaders, and planning and review meetings. In addition, it has fostered Employee Connect through activities like the annual sports meet, office-based festival celebrations, and HR hour sessions to address concerns about Company policies and procedures.

• HMVL has revolutionised its learning and development strategy by partnering with multiple online learning platforms. The goal is to provide employees with the opportunity to upskill and reskill according to their interests and at their own pace through these digital platforms.

• The Company implemented several initiatives to engage employees through platforms, such as sharing the hot topic of the month, recognising the Top Learner of the month, DEAL (Drop Everything and Learn) sessions every Friday, and user training with the platforms SPOCs.

• By implementing various modules, the Company was able to fully utilise the ERP opted in for HR, resulting in

a state-of-art and user-friendly interface for employees while streamlining HR processes and achieving desired outcomes.

• The Company revamped its strategy to create a younger and more diverse workforce.

Safety of Women at Workplace

The Company prioritises the safety and dignity of women at workplace in accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redress) Act of 2013. Strict adherence to the Acts requirements is followed, and the Company has established policies to protect women from harm. The intranet provides access to the Companys policy, and an internal committee handles issues related to womens safety. Regular and relevant training courses are conducted for employees and committee members. A robust POSH policy is in place to create a safe, equitable, and healthy work environment. To raise awareness, a virtual platform and an online programme on womens safety at work have been established. During the year under review, the Company had received 1 complaint which was redressed and closed subsequently.

Risk Management

The Company has a well-established risk management framework in place to identify, manage, and mitigate both external and internal risks. Regular risk identification exercises are conducted to assess various financial, operational, sectoral, sustainability, information, and cyber security risks, considering their likelihood and potential impact. Some of the key risks and uncertainties the Company faces include the accelerated shift in consumer preferences towards digital offerings, talent attraction and retention in the current environment, adverse macroeconomic conditions, geopolitical tensions impacting revenue growth, and the risk of newsprint price volatility and supply constraints leading to higher costs. Additionally, the intense competitive landscape and the risk of cyber threats are among the Companys key concerns.

The Company continually reviews potential risks and incorporates mitigating controls as an integral part of decision making. To stay competitive and minimise risk exposure, the Company has undertaken various initiatives. These include re-pivoting the business model for long-term sustainability, expanding the client base with new-age acquisitions, diversifying the product portfolio, and leveraging cost synergies by combining print offerings with digital products of the HT Group to meet evolving consumer expectations. Significant investments have been made in technology and

cyber security initiatives, and employee IT security awareness training programs have been implemented. Measures have also been taken to manage newsprint price and supply volatility, such as benchmarking import prices with domestic rates, optimizing domestic sourcing, and enhancing newsprint consumption efficiency.

The Company has prioritised employee welfare and engagement through regular leadership town halls, customised recognition and reward programs, and the introduction of an AI-powered Learning Management System (LMS) for employee skill development. Furthermore, an automated compliance tool is utilised to monitor the status of statutory compliances across all locations and functions, ensuring adherence to legal requirements and minimising exposure to non-compliance.

Internal Control

The Company has an effective system of internal controls corresponding with its size, nature of business and complexity of operations. The internal controls mechanism comprises a well-defined organisational structure with a clearly laid out authority and responsibility matrix and comprehensive policies, guidelines and procedures governing the operations of respective functions. These controls have been designed to safeguard the assets and interests of the Company and its stakeholders and also ensure compliance with Companys policies, procedures and applicable regulations. The Company has an established Code of Conduct (CoC) framework and whistle-blower mechanism, which is duly approved by the Board of Directors in compliance with the regulatory requirements. A designated CoC committee with cross-functional representation is in place tasked with monitoring and review of whistle-blower complaints and ensuring proper and transparent complaint management and reporting, including reporting to the Audit Committee, wherever applicable.

The Company has a strong focus on technology and the establishment of appropriate automated controls to further enhance the existing control framework. A robust ERP system is used for accounting across functions. The Company also has a Shared Service Centre (SSC), the ambit of which is being widened to aid the centralisation of processes and activities. These systems enhance the reliability of financial and operational information by facilitating system-driven control activities reducing manual intervention, segregation of duties and enabling stricter controls.

The internal control system is supplemented by an extensive programme of operational and IT audits to evaluate the adherence to laid down processes and controls on a periodic basis. The in-house internal audit function supported by professional external audit firms conducts comprehensive risk- focused audits and assesses the effectiveness of the internal control structure across functions on a regular basis. A Group- level central Revenue Assurance function has also been set up to further streamline and enhance the controls around revenue recognition across different revenue streams. In addition to internal audit activities, the Company has also developed an internal financial control framework to periodically review the effectiveness of controls laid down across all critical processes. The Company performed extensive operating effectiveness testing of its Internal Financial Control (IFC) framework, including rationalisation of existing controls in line with dynamic business practices. The Company also uses a workflow-based online compliance management tool and has established a concurrent audit mechanism of the same to ensure effective compliance oversight. Further, the Company has an Audit Committee which meets once every quarter to review internal control systems, accounting processes, financial information, internal audit findings and other related areas including their adequacies.

Way Ahead

HMVL is resolute in bolstering its principal Print business through strengthening its brand pledge, offering inventive and meaningful journalism, all with a view to grow its readership. Despite facing significant hurdles such as commodity inflation and geopolitical issues over the concluded fiscal, HMVL remains steadfast in its commitment to provide reliable and quality news, powered by exceptional journalism.

With an innovative approach at the forefront, the Company is optimistic about further building onto its market position and also protectively addressing the shifting needs of its readership audience through novel solutions adopted for its Print business.

Further, HMVL is poised to exploit the rising popularity of OTT platforms in the country, courtesy of its recent launch of OTTplay.com. In the ensuing year, the Company anticipates revenue generation through effective strategies focused on monetising its new venture in the OTT aggregation space i.e. OTTplay.