Advertisers renew their approach to newspapers in Tier II, III cities: Girish Agarwaal

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Advertisers are now showing strong interest in Indian-language newspapers based in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, said Girish Agarwaal, Non-Executive Director, DB Corp Ltd. a strong comeback from both Indian consumers and advertisers.

According to Agarwaal, last year’s festival season saw a remarkable upsurge in demand, and this was visible on the ground, especially in tier towns. “Our advertising revenues reflect this. Our well-calibrated spread strategy has allowed us to not only increase our spread to bring it to immediate pre-COVID levels, but also have been able to do so alongside the increase in price hedging in some markets that is being rolled out. on a select city base. We still see scope for the possibility of increased cover price performance from our logs and will continue to review and execute on the same in the months and year ahead. We are confident that our leadership position in the markets in which we operate will only improve in the future. »

Speaking to analysts recently, Agarwaal shared that the festival season has undoubtedly been very good on the publicity front. He said: “We are also starting to see new industries looking for geo-controlled ad campaigns and new era players looking to tap into non-metro markets, all coming to us given our broad reach and depth. strong editorial integrity that resonate with our readers. . It helped us generate growth on those numbers. There is a paradigm shift occurring in the way advertisers view Indian language newspapers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.”

He also spoke about the company’s financial performance and cost optimization. “If you recall from our last interaction, we assessed to you that we continue to focus on sustainable cost optimization and therefore will see an improvement in our margins as a result.”

According to Agarwaal, in the last financial year, DB Corp saved about Rs 195 crore in operating costs and reported that about 40-50% of these savings are sustainable.

“We remain committed to this cost optimization and are pleased to report that in the nine months ended December 31, 2021, we exceeded our targets of 50% of this achievement and were able to grow this savings to nearly 65 % to 70% cost savings for FY2021. As a result, EBITDA from the printing business in the third quarter of FY2022 was approximately Rs 1590 million with a margin of 31% EBITDA. Also, importantly, I would like to report that our current equity commitment on the developer side has now fallen to around 4% with an outstanding loan of only Rs 25 crore and we are working to clear the same in the coming months as we have already communicated with you.

Pawan Agarwal, deputy chief executive of DB Corp, said the first two quarters of the financial year were seen as a precursor to the economy returning to normal after a difficult 2021 financial year.

“Although the second wave had a significant impact on economic activity, partly affecting the first half of the current financial year, it was short-lived and at the start of the third quarter it has already started to see signs of significant recovery,” Agarwal said.

According to him, the third quarter which witnessed major Indian festivals saw a strong rebound in business especially in non-metro cities, tier 2, tier 3 cities and this resulted in the return of advertisers new and traditional in very important ways as they sought to exploit pent-up demand everywhere.

Moving on to digital business, Agarwal mentioned that over the past quarters they have started to implement a strong and focused investment strategy which continues to show strong growth on a sustainable basis. “We are focused on creating a top-notch ad-free user experience on our digital apps as well as our websites while maintaining high-quality, insightful content. Our reader-centric focus continues in the digital sphere as well and we have done this by recognizing the importance of having a very strong presence in the digital space to ensure that our readers continue to engage with us on all supports and we are very pleased to report that these efforts have yielded great results.

In a short time, the monthly users of the Dainik Bhaskar app grew to around 14 million in November 2021 from just 2 million in January 2020,” Agarwal said. He further added, “What is significant about these results is that we have consistently demonstrated remarkable growth in our active user base. We also passed the important milestone of one million average daily e-newspaper downloads. Of this, more than 850,000 downloads are for Dainik Bhaskar Hindi and 150,000 for Divya Bhaskar Gujarati, making Dainik Bhaskar Group a dominant player in Hindi and Gujarati news apps while continuing to be on the right track to further increase the user base and extend the lead.

The efforts of the company’s digital team are overseen by an advisory board that recently recruited Mark Thompson, former CEO of The New York Times who led The New York Times’ digital transformation for the past decade. Apart from this, they have also focused on integrating experienced industry talent and their strong technology team has experience in consumer products and technology and has been drawn from India’s top consumer technology companies. He is confident that the team will continue to expand Dainik Bhaskar’s digital journey this year as well.

Talking about the radio division, Agarwal said that in the nine months of fiscal 2022, its market share of MY FM has increased. Volume growth accelerated in sectors such as lifestyle, real estate, banking, state government and consumer packaged goods for the quarter. For the third quarter of FY2022, Radio Division revenue was Rs 376 million up 29% year on year.

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