Date

Sat - 19.04.2014


Financials

In recent years, Johnston Press hasn’t often been the subject of good financial news. The company, which is the UK’s second-largest regional newspaper publisher, announced a yearly pre-tax loss of £144 million in April, cut 670 jobs – 11.3% of its staff – last year, and has seen the book value of its papers fall from $907 million in 2010 to £742.8 million in December 2011.

Yet on several occasions Johnston Press CEO Ashley Highfield has maintained that all the company’s newspapers are profitable. In January this year, he told In Publishing “every newspaper in the group has a healthy margin over 20 per cent.”

Now Patrick Smith at The Media Briefing has examined this claim and has found that profits are indeed relatively high at one “JP title, typical of many of its 175 weeklies.” Smith keeps the name and region of the paper anonymous, but he specifies that its circulation is around 10,000 per issue.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-06-08 15:25

Magazine publisher Future PLC, which puts out publications such as Total Film, Classic Rock, released its interim financial results yesterday, and revealed that it has seen a 48% rise in digital revenues in the UK in the six months leading up to March 31, partly thanks to the boost it has received from Apple’s Newsstand. But although its digital income was up 37% over this period, losses in print meant that the company’s overall revenue still dropped 4%.

In its financial report, Future strongly pushes its success on the iPad. Since the Newsstand was launched in October last year Future has made sales on the platform with more that £3 million. It has sold more than 830,000 copies of its magazines through Newsstand, with 45% of those sales coming being subscriptions. Encouragingly, the Future writes that 90% of subscribers are new customers.

Future’s CEO Mark Wood comments in the report that “Future is seizing the opportunities offered by new platforms and channels to reach new audiences and grow a global digital business.” He states that, “on Apple's iPad, Future is one of the world's leading digital publishers in sales volumes and number of titles. That is a sign of how far we have come in a very short time."

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-05-23 14:10

Today the Los Angeles Times goes live with its new "membership program". With a model similar to the New York Times metered paywall, the LA Times will give its readers 15 free stories a month, after which it will ask users to pay 99 cents for the first four weeks of digital access.

While this seems like a scheme to monetize digital, it focuses heavily on getting readers to continue with print. For one thing, digital access is free to print subscribers. Secondly, and more unusually, when the initial 99 cent rate expires, the LA Times will charge $1.99 a week for a package which includes digital access and its printed Sunday newspaper, or $3.99 a week for digital access only.

The LA Times is straight-forward about the reason that it is paying digital subscribers to accept the Sunday printed paper: "The Sunday edition of The Times has the most advertising and readership, making that the company's most profitable publication day," writes Jerry Hirsch in the paper's business section.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-03-05 19:17

As Shakespeare might have said, the course of transferring to a digital revenue model never did run smooth...

A report published today by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism highlights the difficulties that many US news organisations are having in adapting their business models to the digital age.

The report states that for every dollar that papers gain from increased digital ad revenue, they lose seven from decreased print ad sales. "In general," asserts Pew, "the shift to replace losses in print ad revenue with new digital revenue is taking longer and proving more difficult than executives want."

The report was based on data from 38 newspapers from across six US media companies, as well as on interviews conducted with the company executives in 2011. This year, Pew also carried out follow-up interviews with executives from the original six media groups, as well as talks with management figures at an additional seven companies. The 13 firms who participated in the study in some way represented a total of 330 daily papers - a pretty comprehensive sample.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-03-05 17:20

Pearson has just published its end-of-year results, and in a tough economic climate they're impressively strong. The company, which counts the FT Group, Penguin, Pearson Education and a 50% stake in the Economist Group among its many holdings, has reported a 12% increase in its adjusted operating profit, with a 27% growth in profits for the FT Group.

Part of this success is due to the FT Group reducing its dependence on volatile advertising markets, and relying more heavily on digital, subscription and content revenues.

Overall, the FT Group is now making more money from its content, and less from advertising. In 2007, the group drew 41% of its total revenues from content, 59% from ads. Now the balance is 58% from content, 42% from ads.

What's more, according to the report, money from digital and services now account for 47% of the FT Group's revenues, compared to just 25% in 2007.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-27 14:07

Tough times call for tough measures... And as News International continues to go through a hard period, the Times and Sunday Times of London have announced a steep hike in the amount they charge users for a digital subscription package.

The package, which includes access to the Times and Sunday Times website, mobile and tablet editions, will be raised from £2 a week (£8.88 a month) to £4 a week, writes paidContent. However, author of the article Robert Andrews notes that web-only customers will continue to be charged £2 for access. What's more, existing subscribers will not have to pay the new, higher rate until 2013.

Andrews quotes a spokesperson from the Times, who insists: "we're not 'doubling' our price. We're introducing a new pack that includes all digital products. Previously, we were offering iPad access as complementary offer."

But Andrews is not convinced. "The difference may effectively be semantic," he writes.

Despite controversy when the Times introduced its impenetrable paywall in July 2010, figures released by News International last week show that its numbers of digital subscribers have been rising steadily. News International states that the Times now has 119,255 digital subscriptions, while the Sunday Times has 113,818.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-24 14:29

While most news publications seem to be facing financially touch times, the Economist is sailing on remarkably smooth waters. The publication has posted record profits over the last four years, Reuters reported, and contrary to the trend at most papers, its circulation kept growing during the second half of 2011.

As the Editors Weblog noted last November, more than 100,000 of the Economist's subscribers are digital readers - a notable achievement in convincing online readers to pay, although still dwarfed by the 1.49 million print readers.

But what is perhaps most remarkable about the magazine's growth is its rapid speed. Reuters noted that it took 161 years for the Economist to break the 1 million subscribers milestone, in 2004 (the paper was founded in 1843). Andrew Rashbass, Chief Executive of the Economist Group, told Reuters that he expected the Economist to reach 2 million readers within five years.

How has the magazine succeeded in maintaining such an impressive growth? Simply put, by having solid revenue model and offering content that is seemingly non-commercial by nature but for which people are willing to pay.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2012-02-20 10:35

The financial cost of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal may still be growing, but News Corp has seen its net profits grow by 65% between October 1 and December 31 2011 compared to the same period last year.

Yesterday News Corp published an earnings release, revealing that it made a net profit of $1.06bn in the last three months of 2011, compared profits of $624m in the same period in 2010.

Profits were driven by growth in the company's cable network programming, filmed entertainment and television divisions.

News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement that he was "particularly pleased with the success of our business strategies in spite of the uncertain economic conditions that we continue to face."

News Corp's cable division saw its operating income grow by 20% in the last three months of 2011, fuelled partly by the lower fees the company paid to broadcast NBA basketball. The corporation also benefited from profits from Fox News and growth in Latin American channels.

Profits from the company's filmed entertainment division more than doubled thanks to the success of films including "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked".

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-09 19:08

Have we reached a turning point in digital growth? Paid Content reported today that the London-based international media group Future PLC managed to offset the decline in its print revenues in the UK with a rise in digital earnings.

The company has just published its Interim Management Statement, analysing its performance between 1 October and 31 December 2011. In the UK, where Future PLC has 75% of its business, digital circulation and ad revenues increased by 51% - enough to make up for a decline in print revenue. The company sees this development as "an important milestone in the evolution of the business".

However, Future PLC also notes that in the UK revenues did decline by 2%, but states that this was "chiefly as a result of the loss of a customer publishing contract".

In the US, revenue fell by 20%, as the company "anticipated", due to shinking print revenues and the closure of some publications. However, digital revenues rose by 24%, and the company claims that the growth in this area, along with cost-cutting measures and the sale of some US properties, should allow it to become profitable in the US again by 2013.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-08 13:57

On November 23 last year the Finnish parliament approved a government proposal to apply 9% VAT to newspaper and magazine subscriptions, which were previously exempt from the tax.

Today the European Journalism Centre has published an article about how the new tax, which came into effect at the beginning of this year, has affected Finnish newspapers.

In a nutshell, it's been tough for journalists. The EJC magazine reports that 100 media workers have already been laid off as a direct consequence of the new tax. 200 more jobs are on the line.

The tax has been controversial, partly because of the way Finnish politician Kimmo Sasi, who argued for the imposition of the new tax, spoke out against the media: "The members of the press tend to be a bit arrogant. They think: "We can write whatever we want about politicians, and they will have to dance to our music. Luckily the majority of the Parliament is not going to accept this," quotes the EJC.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-30 19:44

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