Diversified media group, Zimpapers (1980) Limited reported a 358 percent growth in revenue to $116 million for the year to May 2020, chief executive officer Pikirayi Deketeke told the AGM yesterday.
Profit for the period however declined 2 percent to $1,2 million.
In a trading update to May 2020, Deketeke said the 358 percent growth was on a historical basis.
With Covid-19 having a negative impact on business, the newspaper division’s volumes during the period were down 24 percent, although revenues jumped 300 percent.
The commercial printing division posted a 6 percent improvement in volumes, while revenue rose by 472 percent.
The radio broadcasting division’s volumes were down 3 percent, although revenue was up by 450 percent.
Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) contributed 1 percent to revenue over the five-month period.
Over the last few years Zimpapers has been broadening its portfolio, with a special focus on broadcasting and online products, and the move is paying off during the pandemic.
“The creation of divisions has started to bear fruit in terms of balancing the portfolio,” said Deketeke.
“While our business model has always been anchored on our newspapers, which is our mothership so to say, we have used this as a base to build a robust media and printing company that is anchored on diversification and innovation in order to withstand any shocks brought about by our operating environment be it political, economic, social, technological or legal,” said the CEO.
“We watch our environment like a hawk to make sure that we don’t miss any opportunities that might present themselves to us such as the opening up of the airwaves, technological changes or social upheavals.
“The business model has to be fine-tuned all the time to make sure that we are on every platform that guarantees us audiences and subscriptions. The Covid-19 pandemic spells doom for a lot of businesses but has created opportunities for tech companies, digital content businesses, among others.”
“As expected, the Covid-19 pandemic was the biggest disruption to our business since its outbreak in Zimbabwe in March this year. As a result of the national lockdown to contain the pandemic, Zimpapers lost a staggering $22 million over the last three months,” said Deketeke.
The group has however since implemented a number of initiatives to mitigate the loss of revenue during the pandemic.
“We took some mitigatory measures to ensure that we continue to be in business; whilst it (Covid-19) was a disadvantage to most businesses, it was also an advantage. We looked at our entire portfolio to see where we could recover some revenues.”