Why is this leading media house available for free?

How?

HT Media is trading at a market cap of Rs 580 crore (as of March 19, 2024), lower than the net cash on its balance sheet (Rs 754 crore).

Why?

Simply put, the market is not interested in the business.

Reasons for the downfall

We look at the reasons why HT Media’s business has taken a beating.

#1 Digital all the way

HT Media’s core readership gradually moved towards its digital platforms, leading to a drastic fall in circulation and advertising revenue by 44.2% during FY17-23.

Contd…

Rising printing costs and a failed radio venture further dented its revenues.

#2 Poor decisions

HT Media entered the digital realm by launching Shine (job portal), Desimartini (movie review and content platform), and HTCampus (college application portal).

However…

HT Media consolidated them under Digicontent to cut costs. But this was largely cosmetic as it still buys content from Digicontent contractually.

#3 Lack of cost control

HT Media’s Legal and Professional Expenses and Repair and Maintenance costs are among the highest compared to its peers.

Is there hope?

Persisting issues may further sink HT Media's share prices. Opting to invest in startups like Oyo and Mobikwik over paying dividends also dented market reputation.

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