Earnings Call: HT Media To Invest Rs. 150 Crores In Internet Business Over 2-3 Years

I’m currently listening to the HT Media earnings call, awaiting my turn to ask questions. The company intends to invest Rs. 150 crores in the Internet Business over the next 2-3 years. EBITDA from the Internet business was around Rs. 10 crores.

Rationale for launching jobs portal in a crowded market — “You need to understand our Internet strategy – we are following a 3C concept – content, classifieds and community. If you take our job portal, compared to competition is completely different – the way it is set up, the search engine, all is different. Privacy issues are addressed far more effectively. From and an indirect competition perspective – it’s a unique perspective that competition doesn’t have with print and Internet together (Ed: What about BCCL with Indiatimes and Times Business?). The job portal cannot be strictly be seen in the context of what’s there in the market currently. We’re in the market, packaging the two. We have 125,000 registered users,and 4000 postings, in line with plan.

Update: The following are answers to some of the questions I asked, many on behalf of our readers who sent questions via mail, Twitter and IM:

Hindustantimes.com: The site is a part of HT (Not Firefly?), and revenues for HT.com are in the Rs. 7-9 crores range. The company had earlier claimed 130 million page views per year for Hindustantimes.com.
FireFly E-Ventures: Contribution to revenues this year has been minimal since the company has just been started. Break-even for the company is at least a couple of years away. Launching and interlinking of portals is high on the agenda – particularly in matrimonial, real estate etc. Currently, these portals will be launched from scratch, and “we’ll build it the way we’ve built Shine”.
Acquisitions: “If there’s an attractive proposal, we might look at it.” No moneys have been set aside for acquisitions, but it’s a part for their plans.
Shine: No subscription revenues at the moment – is on a trial basis. Free trial to companies till May 20th. “Come June, things will start looking up there.”
Monetization of DesiMartini.com: Primarily through advertising “and so on”.
Mint TV?: We’re currently evaluating TV business. No specific plans as of now, and will share once we’re able to crystallize TV and broadband expansion plans.
Private Treaty deals: As of March, they’ve done 6-7 deals. No comments on deals in the pipeline.

(we were taking questions for HT Media in the comments to this post, on twitter and IM – nixxin AT gmail DOT com . Thanks for all the questions 🙂 )