On 12th April, 2017, my father and our Company’s Chairman left for his heavenly abode. He will remain with us forever as a formidable force guiding us to greater achievements. He was a visionary, philanthropist and a leader par excellence. He believed that D. B. Corp Ltd. could be one of the catalysts to drive consumption and growth of India’s Tier II and Tier III cities.
Shri Ramesh Chandra Agarwal will continue to be a source of inspiration for many of us. He believed in dreaming big and had the capability to transform aspirations into reality. Inspired by his philosophy, we are India’s largest newspaper Group. We remain committed to his vision with greater focus and fortitude.
It was under his leadership that we had launched our ‘UNMETRO’ strategy. Our objective was to change the perception of advertisers and the marketing community to seek growth opportunities beyond the traditional eight metros.
A key aspect of our business philosophy has always been rooted in the rise of the Tier II and Tier III consumer. Our strong market share across many of these cities reflect our business acumen. Today, as these ‘Unmetros’ drive India’s transformation into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, our insight stands validated.
The Group’s consistent growth has been the outcome of several steps taken in the direction of providing differentiated offerings across Tier II and Tier III cities. These markets have gradually developed into pockets of opportunities, with an upsurge in consumption and rising household incomes. The Government’s impetus to improve infrastructure across these emerging cities is giving them the much-needed thrust, so that they can be ‘Metros’ of the future. These cities are now the focal point of India’s growth story and are truly the ‘Markets That Matter’.
The EY report, ‘India’s Growth Paradigm’ (March 2017), has identified 42 emerging cities with millions of inspirational consumers. The share of these ‘New Wave’ cities towards India’s total household income is expected to rise to 61% by 2020. It further emphasizes that these markets witness a steady rise in population and per capita income. The GDP growth of these cities will outpace that of the metros’. There are large gaps between demand and supply across a range of sectors in these emerging cities. These gaps suggest a significant scope for the India Inc. to reach consumers who remain untapped.
In FY 2016-17, our total revenue rose to Rs, 22,750 mn as compared to Rs, 20,353 mn in FY 2015-16. Our business strategy was focused on hyper-local offerings to our advertisers in line with market dynamics, which was further leveraged through an integrated approach of in-print, on-air, online and on-ground activities. Despite demonetization, our advertising revenues grew by 8% to Rs, 15,973 mn in FY 2016-17 as against Rs, 14,812 mn during FY 2015-16. Similarly, our circulation revenue grew by 10.5% to Rs, 4,814 mn for FY 2016-17, compared to Rs, 4,356 mn in the previous fiscal. The business saw a staggering growth as our PAT rose by 28.3% to Rs, 3,748 mn vis-a-vis Rs, 2,921 mn in FY 2015-16.
I am happy to share that ‘Dainik Bhaskar’, our flagship newspaper brand had many wins this year. Our Jaipur edition celebrated its 20th anniversary. Following the Group’s philosophy to consistently launch relevant offerings, we launched Dainik Bhaskar’s Surat edition in early 2017. This was a natural extension of our leadership in the region and a strategy to leverage an untapped segment.
We have further amplified our promise to the emerging cities by rolling out 13 newly acquired stations of 94.3 MY FM. This expands our radio presence across 30 cities in seven states.
Around 127 mn Indian internet users are consuming content in regional languages. ‘dainikbhaskar.com’ continues to retain the No. 1 position among Hindi News websites. With the launch of our real estate portal homeonline.com, our digital business now has 13 portals and provides content across varied genres. As per Google Data, there has been 94% development rate for Hindi content utilization. Today, Google underpins languages, for example - Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali and Tamil among others.
We launched digital tools like Matrix workflow in mobile using Google Speech API. This has enabled our reporting personnel to file stories using their speech instead of typing.
Our thought leadership is well established. We continued to innovate for readers. We launched ‘Swatantra Vichaar’ campaign in Maharashtra and ‘Azaad Soch’ campaign in Punjab, which further strengthened our promise of being an independent newspaper. We also fortified our presence in legacy market of Madhya Pradesh. We partnered many engagement activities during Simhastha; world’s largest congregation held once in 12 years.
94.3 MY FM sustained strong listenership base through active audience engagement and brand promotion activities. Similarly, DB Digital is the second-largest Digital Group in Indian infotainment genre (ComScore November 2016), with a landmark reach of 90.1 mn Unique Visitors and 2.8 bn page views (as per Google analytics March 2017).
Going forward, we believe that India’s M&E industry is poised for strong growth, mirroring the overall economy. As per FICCI KPMG M&E Industry Report 2017, the industry is projected to grow at 14% from 2016 to 2021, with advertising revenue expected to increase at 15.3% CAGR during the same period.
Our skilled team is our formidable strength. This fiscal we continued to focus our energies on building employee engagement initiatives to attract and retain talent. We also focused on creating a strong leadership succession plan for our top managerial talent.
The Group strives to meet the needs, positively impact and protect the rights of our diverse stakeholder fraternity. This includes our employees and the local communities where we operate, among many others.
To conclude, I would like to thank our Board, teams and other stakeholders, who empower us to deliver engaging content for our audiences. This, in turn, drives our Company towards long-term growth and success in today’s dynamic markets.
We promise to continue to uphold the value system that binds our D. B. Corp Ltd. family together. We are committed to lead with relevant and innovative products for India’s growing cities, while providing healthy returns to our shareholders and advertisers.