The end of the week brought more mediocre results from newspaper publishers. The McClatchy Co. reported that total revenues fell 8.4% to $344.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, although the
decline would have been just 2.1% when an extra week in the fourth quarter of 2012 is excluded.
McClatchy’s total advertising revenues fell 6% to $238.8 million, but this was
offset slightly by an increase in circulation revenues, which rose 9.1% to $92.7 million, or 3.3% excluding revenues related to a change in delivery contracts in 2013.
The growth in
circulation revenues is due partly to McClatchy’s digital subscription strategy, consisting of online paywalls implemented at most of the publisher’s big newspaper Web sites in the fourth
quarter of 2012.
McClatchy president and CEO Pat Talamantes noted big increases in traffic to the digital properties, including 19.7% growth in monthly unique visitors and 83.0%
growth in mobile monthly unique visitors, compared to the same quarter last year. Digital-only revenues, including advertising and circulation, were up 15.8% in the quarter.
newspaper publishers are in the same boat as McClatchy. Earlier this week, A.H. Belo Corp. said it saw total revenues decrease 1% from $99.2 million to $98.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2013,
reflecting continuing print advertising declines at The Dallas Morning News.
Also this month, Gannett Co. said total revenues fell 6% from $1.46 billion in the fourth quarter
of 2012 to $1.37 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, reflecting declines in both its publishing and broadcasting businesses. The drop in broadcasting was due mostly to the absence of political and
Olympic advertising last year.
In addition, The New York Times Co.’s total revenues fell 5.2% from $468 million to $444 million, as advertising revenues fell 6.3% from $226.5
million to $212.1 million, while circulation revenues slid 3.9% from $216.1 million to $207.7 million. Taking into account the extra week in the fourth quarter of 2012, total revenues would have
increased 0.4%, thanks mostly to a 2.7% increase in circ revenues (again excluding the extra week), while advertising revenues would have decreased 1.3%.
News Corp, which split from
Fox in June of last year, reported that total revenues fell 4% from $2.32 billion to $2.24 billion over the same period, reflecting continuing declines in newspaper advertising, as well as foreign
exchange fluctuations and the sale of the Dow Jones Local Media Group.