Trading update reveals Fairfax revenue slip

Fairfax Media revealed a 2 to 3 per cent drop in revenue for the first 17 weeks of 2016, compared to the previous year, in a trading update issued to the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday.

Metro Media, which includes the Domain real estate brand, is up around 2 per cent over the period. Publishing revenues in the division were down around 6 per cent, but Domain overall revenue was up around 9 per cent. Doman’s total digital business was up 19 per cent and up 23 per cent.

Australian Community Media revenue was down around 13 per cent. New Zealand revenues were down 10 per cent in local currency over the period, and around 15 per cent in Australian dollars.

The news was better in Macquarie Media, with its radio revenues up around 49 per cent on a continuing business basis.

Fairfax issued the update for the period from December 28, 2015, to April 24, 2016, prior to a presentation by Mr Hywood at the Macquarie Conference in Sydney, in which he revisited the subject of restricting print products to weekend  publication at a future date – a topic he had raised with investors at the company’s half-yearly results in February.

Mr Hywood told the conference: “The seven-day-a-week publishing model will eventually give way to weekend-only or more targeted printing for most publishers.” However, he stressed to analysts and fund managers that the company saw a “future sustainable, profitable publishing model” despite falling print audiences and high printing costs.

Fairfax also announced an acquisition at Domain, with the group paying $15 million for a 35 per cent stake in online trade service marketplace Oneflare.

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