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A look at HT Media - Part I

Feb 27, 2008

Started in 1924, HT Media (HTML) is one of India’s leading print media companies. HTML is the second largest player in English via its brand, Hindustan Times (HT) and the fourth largest player in Hindi through Hindustan. It covers 65% of the population and has a readership base of 14.5 m readers and a daily circulation of 2.25 m copies. In this article we present more details about the company. Basket of offerings: HTML has a multi regional, multi lingual and multi segment presence. Currently HTML's basket of offerings includes - Hindustan Times (the flagship English daily) and Hindustan (Hindi daily). It is a significant player in northern India for its Hindi newspaper. HTML's English edition has a strong presence in Delhi and is doing well in Mumbai. HT Media recently underwent a complete revamp of its paper in Mumbai, which would aid higher circulation in the city. It recently forayed into the business news space with the launch of the newspaper Mint. Initially launched in the Delhi and Mumbai markets, Mint within a year has become the No 2 player in these markets. Mint was recently launched in Bangalore and the company is further expanding to other cities.

Wide presence: From being a Northern centric player, the company has widened its reach to a pan India presence. Consolidating its position in Bihar and Jharkhand, the company entered Uttar Pradesh (UP), Uttarakhand, Chandigarh and the like to achieve a pan-India footprint in the Hindi newspaper space. In FY06, HT Media entered Mumbai – one of the largest ad markets. HTML’s move was to increase its footprint and position itself as a national newspaper spanning the country’s two major ad markets - Delhi & Mumbai that together account for close to 40% of India’s print ad-spends. HT Media has become a strong contender within a short span of time and has a reach of nearly 1/6th the size of Times of India. HT is the number three player, behind TOI and DNA. Over the last 2 years, HTML has invested heavily in the Mumbai market both in terms of circulation and promotions. This has led to its growth in excess of 25% from the Mumbai markets, specifically in the last three months.

HTML derives 85% of its revenues from its English newspaper, while 15% is earned from Hindi. Mumbai and Delhi, which are matured regions and growing at 8% to 10% annually account for bulk of its revenues. HTML is second among English publications with an average issue readership of 3.3 m readers, as compared to a readership figure of 6.8 m for Times of India. HTML in Indian Readership Survey (IRS) Round 2 witnessed a marginal decrease of 12,000 readers from the IRS 2007 Round 1 figures.

Hindustan registered a 6% drop in readership in December 2007 and witnessed a drop in its rank from No 3 position in IRS Round 1. However, it has scaled up its Hindi segment to move up from 8th position two years back to the current position. The readership for Hindustan stands at 8.5 m. The size of the Hindi print market has been pegged at Rs 24 bn with an equal mix of advertising and subscription revenue. Hindustan has a big foothold in Bihar, Jharkhand, UP and Delhi addressing 40% to 45% of the Hindi belt. It has now started to increase its presence in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal to garner more share of the Hindi belt. While HT Media continues to launch new editions, it needs to simultaneously consolidate its dominance in the Bihar and Jharkhand markets. With players like Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar upping their stake, competition is heating up in these markets.

In case of its business daily, HTML‘s Mint has already carved a niche among business readers in the nation's political and commercial capitals, with a circulation of over 100,000 copies. With its recent launch in Bangalore, it is the number two paper in that city, with a print order of about approximately 10,000 copies. In the next quarter, the company is planning to launch Mint in Kolkata, thereby increasing its reach.

We shall provide further highlights on the company in the next article.

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