Fairfax reports $16.4m loss

Fairfax Media has announced a loss of $16.4 million over last financial year on revenue of $2,033.8 million – a drop of 8.2 per cent on revenue the previous year.

The loss included $444.6 million of write-downs in the company’s regional and agricultural business. Underlying earnings – before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation and excluding significant items – came in at $366 million, which was above guidance. An interim dividend of 1 cent was declared.

Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood said the company was responding to difficult conditions by transforming its operations. “We are evolving the way we engage with customers and audiences and developing a range of new revenue opportunities adjacent to our core business,” he said.

Mr Hywood said the company’s digital subscription model launched in July had a better response than expected . “We have achieved half of our 12 month target for paid subscribers in the first four weeks since introducing digital subscriptions for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age,” he said.

“We now have 68,000 paid digital subscriptions and 98,000 bundled print and digital subscriptions. Around one third of digital subscriptions are iPad-only,” he said.

Mr Hywood said the circulation strategy for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age was working. “Circulation revenue for these mastheads is growing strongly,” he said. “The introduction of the compact format enables us to close our large scale Chullora and Tullamarine print sites next year, which will drive significant printing cost reductions.”

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