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Digital offsets decline in print for Fairfax

Thursday, 13 August 2015
By Print 21 Online Article

Fairfax Media has posted a 62.9% drop in full-year profit but says its booming digital business helped to offset a continuing decline in print.

The company’s net profit for the 12 months to June 28 dropped to $83.2 million from $224.4 million, as revenue decreased by 5.3 per cent to $1.867 billion.

However, revenue from the Domain real estate advertising unit jumped by 45% and digital subscription revenue increased by 36.2%, with around 159,000 paid digital subscribers across SMH and The Age (as at 2 August 2015). Metro print advertising revenue decreased 0.5% while metro digital advertising increased 22.6%.

Greg Hywood

“Through organic growth initiatives and acquisitions, we are moving to a position where the growth in our digital revenue offsets the decline in print,” said Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood. “Revenue for the first five weeks of FY16 is two to three per cent higher on the previous corresponding period, with revenue up 53 per cent.

“As we foreshadowed a year ago, we are investing in our growth businesses and ventures – which include Domain, Life Media & Events, as well as subscription video-on-demand service Stan,” said Hywood.

Fairfax said the sharp drop in net profits was impacted by $60.5 million of significant items after tax compared with a gain of $66.7 million in the prior corresponding period. The company reported net cash of $64.4 million, compared to $67.6 million last year.

Hywood said the cash gives the company “considerable flexibility to continue to invest both in our existing businesses and via acquisition as we continue the transformation of the company.”

Meanwhile, rival News Corp reported a financial year loss of US$149m ($201.7m) citing write-downs and impairment costs. News Corp’s news and information division, which publishes its newspapers globally, reported a three per cent fall in revenue. There was no mention of results from its Australian newspaper business.






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