Media groups hit by weak consumer sentiment

KUALA LUMPUR: Weak consumer sentiment has hit the earnings of Media Prima Bhd and Media Chinese International Ltd (MCIL), both of which announced their latest quarterly earnings on Monday.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Media Prima reported that it swung to a loss of RM38.46mil in the first quarter ended March 31, 2017, from earnings of RM17.25mil a year earlier.

The company said a “substantial” decline in revenue - down 10.5% to RM272.2mil - led to the loss.

The fall in revenue was attributed to continued subdued advertising expenditure (adex), which was further affected by the low momentum after Chinese New Year. 

According to market research firm Nielsen, total adex in the country shrank by about 15% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017.

Media Prima’s television business posted an after-tax loss of RM23.03mil from a profit of RM5.94mil a year earlier, while its print segment’s loss widened to RM16.97mil from RM931,000 previously.

Profits for the group’s radio, outdoor, digital and content creation segments all contracted.

The home shopping segment, which began its activities on April 1, 2016, posted a loss of RM4.16mil in the quarter under review.

Media Prima said it expected the group’s outlook to remain challenging for the rest of this year, with traditional media remaining pressured by prolonged weak adex and the industry facing increasing customer fragmentation, technological advancement and shift to digital media.

Meanwhile, MCIL, the country’s largest Chinese language newspaper and magazine publisher, reported earnings of RM3.66mil in the January-March 2017 quarter (its fourth financial quarter), down from RM12.18mil a year earlier.

Revenue slipped 12% to RM275.97mil.

MCIL said turnover for the Malaysian operations declined by 17.4% during the quarter while profit before tax fell by 47.9% to US$3.98mil (RM16.99mil), mainly due to lower advertising revenue, sluggish economic environment and weak consumer sentiment.

The group’s turnover in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China also retreated by 9.9% to US$11.49mil (RM49.11mil) compared with US$12.76mil (RM54.53mil) in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

It said the lower performance was mainly due to the prolonged weak retail environment which adversely influenced advertisers’ spending.

For the whole financial year ended March 31, MCIL’s earnings fell 43.1% to RM67.03mil on 13.3% lower revenue of RM1.34bil.
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