HT Media, the owner of national daily Hindustan Times, reported a consolidated net loss of 218.9 million rupees ($2.65 million) for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared to a profit of 448.8 million rupees a year earlier.

Newspaper owners across the globe have seen their fortunes dwindle for years now, due to high newsprint prices and falling ad spending as the pattern of news consumption shifts to digital channels.

HT Media's print vertical, which accounts for about 80% of total revenue, saw its ad revenue drop 12% to 2.84 billion rupees, while higher newsprint prices due to inflation also hit results.

"Persistent general inflation acted as a dampener, resulting in a relatively muted festive quarter," said Shobhana Bhartia, chairperson of HT Media.

The New Delhi-based company's total expenses rose 17.8% to 5.18 billion rupees, with the cost of materials consumed jumping 29%.

HT Media, however, said it expects to benefit from easing raw material prices and an improvement in ad spending as the business environment stabilises.

The company, which also owns the Mint newspaper, said its revenue from operations contracted 5.5% to 4.4 billion rupees.

Earlier this month, DB Corp Ltd, which publishes Dainik Bhasker, reported a 44.2% fall in quarterly profit due to high newsprint prices.

HT Media's shares fell as much as 1.3% after the results. ($1 = 82.7350 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aleef Jahan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)