Sir Ray Tindle marked the 35th anniversary of Tindle Newspapers by announcing the highest profit and circulation the company has achieved.
Started without titles or assets, on £300 given to him when he left the Army in 1947, Tindle’s company has broken the £5m profit barrier for the first time in the year ending 31 March, even without counting profits from its radio stations. Profit rose to £5.3m and overall circulation to 585,997.
Several new titles were launched during the year, bringing the total owned to 128, nearly half of which were “home-grown”.
Tindle also now has seven radio stations in a separate operating company, where the revenue has grown by 19 per cent to more than £4m and profit from £162,000 to £707,098. During the financial year, Tindle Radio Holdings acquired 85 per cent of Irish station Midlands Radio.
After taking the costs of the radio company into account, the group profit0was £298,970, compared with a loss last year of £121,130.
Tindle said some of the newspapers had excelled themselves in what had not been an easy year. He forecast another good year ahead and had no doubt about the future for weekly newspapers in general.
“I’ve been in weeklies for 55 years,” he said, “and for most of that time weekly newspapers did not rank very high in the media of the country. Now, almost 1,200 papers within the total of 1,300 in the UK are weeklies, having a joint rising circulation of 31 million. Today we are more highly regarded than ever before.”
Tindle’s views on reporting the war in Iraq – not to print anti-war stories or letters for the duration – has recently caused controversy among Press Gazette’s readers.
He said the company’s decision to support the troops under fire had received the backing of all his newspapers and “the strong approval of the overwhelming majority of readers. Even the few protesters accepted the need to support the troops in action.”
Tindle Newspapers would continue the policy, he affirmed, but regretted the way it had been projected.
“It should have been made clear that our newspapers are local weeklies which did not in any event carry national news or comment,” he stated.
By Jean Morgan