D. B.Corp - a newspaper company

Can you substantiate what you said with the source of information? How do you know that company took loan and not the promoters?

How do you it’s non-disposal undertaking and not a pledge?

There is lot of haze around this loan and share pledge this does not reflect positively on the management of the company.

Though I understand buyback was done at higher price and promoters participated, many indian companies just syphon off funds from company… I get some respite that DB corp is actually distributing the cash…

The biggest discussion point here should be: will ad revenue come back close to previous levels (at least close to that level) once things come back to normal? Is there a possibility govt comes to rescue of print? Digital marketing is a storm. However, we should look at example of australia. They are making FB/Google pay for every click they get on google search or facebook on news articles of publishers. NY times also get very well valued when they got all their content paid.

Let me try to answer both these questions as I am fairly close to this industry:

  1. news paper advertising does work. For all the local businesses, education, retail or real estate, if you can’t go national on TV, digital or print is the way. This is the area where FB/Google are coming strongly but I don’t believe they can wipe out local advertising. Please remember in all the advanced countries, print died more because the readership of newspapers moved digital and not other way round. In India, newspaper readership is still very high as compared to those countries. This definitely a big plus for newspaper industry along with the fact that distribution cost and manufacturing cost is a very small fraction of what we see in advanced countries. Please note that in a country like Japan, print flyers are still a big medium to do advertising.

  2. India has already pushing back the digital players by putting digital tax on them to make them expensive. Sooner or later, all the countries will take cues from Australia as Fb/Goog pay very less tax locally and most of that is paid in ireland. Further, FB/Google are realizing that if they don’t support the publishers, they won’t get content and face wrath of government. Thus, I believe one way or another, there will be support to publishers and thus making models more economical.


@Swapnil_Marathe Nice point 1, regarding readership. As long as readership continues to stay around this level and doesn’t degrow, advertisements would come back. Advertisers would have to advertise if people are interested in reading a newspaper. In my view, the younger generation does not have much inclination towards newspapers. They are natively digital but people, relatively older and belonging from Tier-2, Tier-3 town, and rural, are still excited about newspapers and mainly interested in credible local news.

Probing it a bit deeper as you are closer to the industry. Why can not local advertisers (education, retail, or real state) go digital way? What is preventing this transition? If there are issues related to the adoption of the digital platform, How long it might take for the transition? Or there is something, which simply does not work in Digital and hence print would exist.

Another point that I think people are not at all considering is once digital platforms become mainstream. There might be huge consolidation in the news producers. Digital platforms work in this way, eliminating smaller inefficient players, and efficient players keep gaining more and more readers/subscribers. I am not sure what can be the monetization model, subscription fee, or ad, but the number of target customers for news producers would go up. Because there will not be any physical limits on distribution. Though Fb/Google might have a strong upper hand in the distribution of the news. I believe DB Corp and Jagran too are working on this line. To provide a world-class, ad-less experience so that later on they can charge a very small subscription fee and engaged active users don’t mind the fee. What do you think of this? Can this occur, where one or two dominant newspapers become strong digital players? and if this occurs how far is that future?

@jhasuraj Thanks for the reply… Great questions…

On the local advertising, I agree that local advertisers can make digital transition and slowly it is happening. However, when I talked to advertisers, specially retail and real estate, there is real impact of print advertising. The day they take a full page ad on newspaper, they immediately see big number of walkins. This helps them with immediate impact.

Other things going in favor of print media is the media agencies. In most of such 3 way deals between print, agency and client, there is huge amount of kickbacks and discounts passed back to agency or client directly or indirectly. This means that the intermediate players have incentive to continue spending on print. Google/FB never give kickbaks and hence not prefered.

Thirdly, in outside top 8 cities, there is still lower tendency to search for properties, education institutes and so on… Also advertisers mistrust digital in some way. Think of all the exam results like IIT results and how local advertisers sweep all the newspapers with their top rankers. These ads are trusted and have impact while similar ads at times are distrusted in smaller cities.

I agree that this industry is not a growth industry but india newsreadership hasn’t gone down as per official numbers till covid hit us. Newspapers are very local in nature and need local ads. Also it suits very different need of people. So I think they are here to stay though might not grow. However, for a 4-6 PE, they seem to be priced for extinction in next 5 years which might not be the case.


why do you expect promoter to stay out of buyback and only public should participate. After all promoter too need cash in the form of dividend or buyback.

Can someone throw more light on the I-T Raid outcome? It’s been now nearly 8 months since the raids happened.

What are the liabilities, if any?

Below are the excerpts from the latest concall regarding revenue sharing regulation with social media cos :-

If this happens, it’s going to be a great optionality for listed newspaper players. Adds another re-valuation trigger.

Disclosure :- Not invested.


Yes I do agree. But is a question of time and could be similar story of saregama.


I am unable to understand why the management keeps delaying the monetization of app. For the past 3 concalls, each time they’ve been asked the question they always answer with “2 more quarters”. What could be the rationale for delay in even accepting ads when most peers have already put ads and paywall.

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There seems to have some update on the candadian Govt-Google matter and they will pay ~610 Cr p.a. Which is discussed in this post.