Times Newspapers losing a million pounds a week

The Times and Sunday Times are making a combined loss of almost £1m a week, newly filed accounts at Companies House have revealed.

In the year to the end of June 2008 – the most up-to-date accounts available – Times Newspapers reported a loss of £51.3m, compared with £44m in the previous financial year.

Group revenues were down slightly from £447.2m to £444.9m over the same period.

In the notes accompanying the accounts, parent company News International said advertising revenues in the 2008 financial year were marginally down, but circulation revenue improved as a result of a cover price rise at The Times.

Editorial headcount fell slightly, according to the Companies House fiing, down from 675 in 2007 to 647 last year.

Sister company News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun and the News of the World, ended the 2008 financial year with an operating loss of £18.5m.

The company said this was largely the result of increased administrative expenses "due to higher technology development costs in relation to digital activities".

Costs also rose due to the increasing price of newsprint and ink, and the cost associated with decommissioning redundant printing presses following the titles' switch to full-colour.

Group revenues at News Group Newspapers were up slightly from £623.3m to £626.3m, a rise that the company said was due to an increase in circulation revenue from a News of the World cover price rise in September 2007.

But advertising revenues on the Sun and the News of the World, Britain's biggest-selling national daily and Sunday respectively, were marginally down.

"In common with other newspaper groups, the company faces challenging advertising markets in the short term, and a wider competitive set, particularly from the internet, in the longer term," the publisher said.

"The company is investing significant resources in the develpoment of its own internet presence in order to capitalise on the new opportunities that this impending market shift will present."

On a like-for-like basis, News Group reported a profit for the year of £55.2m, down from £61.9m in 2007.

Editorial headcount, according to the accounts, increased from 575 to 631 in the same period.

NI Free Newspapers, the publisher of thelondonpaper, was also due to publish accounts for the 2008 financial year, but these are overdue and have yet to be made public by Companies House.

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