McClatchy recorded sharp declines in print advertising and circulation revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018, the company reported Thursday. That and some special charges led to a $27.5 million loss for the quarter on revenue of $213 million.
The print advertising blues (continuing into 2019) have been widely reported, but McClatchy’s losses were deeper than at other public regional chains — off 26 percent year-to-year for the quarter or 22 percent factoring out an extra “fourteenth” week in the 2017 period.
As I reported last fall, McClatchy is pursuing aggressive price increases to its print subscribers, essentially treating print as a luxury item. Predictably volume was down (by 8.6 percent daily and 7.6 percent Sunday). But revenues declined too — apparently plenty are opting not to pay the higher price, and the company likely has cut marketing of new subscriptions as well.
Strong growth in the number of digital-only subscriptions (up 51 percent to 155,000) at McClatchy’s 30 properties didn’t translate to much of a revenue gain, suggesting the average price of all those new subscriptions is very low.
Altogether audience revenues were down 11.2 percent year-to-year for the quarter
President and CEO Craig Forman spun the results in a press release as “significant progress in our digital transformation.” Part of that transformation is a steady reduction in costs — 450 staff members have been offered buyouts already this year with about half accepting.
So if McClatchy stays intact and tips deeper to digital it will become a much
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/business-work/2019/not-much-cheer-as-mcclatchy-reports-more-revenue-declines-and-a-fourth-quarter-loss/