A decline in print advertising as advertisers shift spend to digital saw turnover fall at Rupert Murdoch’s Times and Sun newspapers, new full-year financial figures show.
Turnover at Times Newspapers, publishers of the Times and Sunday Times, fell by £22m year-on-year to £319m.
The publisher recorded an adjusted operating profit of £2.8m for the year to 2 July, down from £11.2m on the year before, and a pre-tax loss of £6.5m.
A spokesperson said: “Turnover declined in the year driven by print advertising resulting from an industry wide decline, which continues to be impacted by advertisers shifting spend from print into digital.
“The decline in print advertising revenue offsets the strong performance in other areas of the business, notably the market leading print circulation performance across both titles as well as its digital subscriptions growth.”
Times subscribers grew by 10 per cent to 171,000 and Sunday Times digital subscriptions were up by 11 per cent to 189,000 for the year, the group said.
It put the subscription sales growth down to marketing campaigns, such as “£3 for three” and said that churn was at its “lowest ever level”.
News Group Newspapers, which publishes the Sun and Sun on Sunday, also saw revenue decline by £22m to £424m for the year to 2 July, down from £446 in 2016.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation charges (excluding restructuring and one-off operating charges) at the group rose to £18m from £16m the year before.
The publisher made a pre-tax loss of £24m last year, an improvement on a £63m loss the year before.
Said a spokesperson: “The main driver of the decrease in turnover was the challenging market conditions, with declines in both newspaper circulation in the popular segment and in print advertising due to continued weakness in the industry as advertisers are shifting spend from print into digital.
“These declines were partially offset by digital advertising growth, following the relaunch of thesun.co.uk website in June 2016 and the removal of the paywall in October 2015.”
The Sun said “strong” audience growth online had “supported digital advertising revenue growth where off platform traffic (Google AMP, Instant Articles, Snapchat and Apple News) continues to perform strongly”.
It added: “The Sun will continue to invest and focus on investigative journalism and focusing on delivering the big stories which showcase its quality.”
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