NZME reports drop in profit and revenue

NZME, which owns the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB radio network, reported revenue was down...
NZME, which owns the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB radio network, reported revenue was down 4 percent to $181.4m. Photo: RNZ

Media company NZME has reported a big drop in profit and revenue, as it continues to focus on developing digital revenue streams and build subscriber numbers.

The company made a net profit of $950,000 in the six months to June, down 73 percent on the year earlier, while underlying profit was down 14.5 percent to $4.7m, which excluded the impact of accounting changes.

NZME, which owns the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB radio network, reported revenue was down 4 percent to $181.4m, with a small increase in radio advertising offset by an 8 percent decline in print and digital advertising, as well as a 5 percent decline in print circulation and related printing services.

Despite the shrinking revenue, the company remained upbeat about the future.

"While we continued to experience market challenges in the past six months, there are some encouraging signs in advertising spending as we head into the second half of our financial year, with third quarter bookings up 6 percent year-on-year," Chief executive Michael Bogg said.

"For the first time in several years radio revenue is in growth," he said.

The OneRoof real estate sales platform, which generated $1.3m in revenue, was also expected to deliver further revenue growth.

"While our 'new kids on the block', NZ Herald Premium and OneRoof are already proving their potential value to NZME, there have also been some exciting highlights in our print business during the past six months," Mr Boggs said.

The company's recently launched premium paid digital subscriber service had beat its expectations with more than 15,000 subscribers, since the launch earlier in the year.

"On top of our 15,000 new digital subscribers, thousands of NZ Herald newspaper subscribers have also activated their digital subscriptions," he said adding that brought the total number of premium subscribers to about 40,000.

NZME also cut costs over the first half by 4 percent and made progress in reducing net debt by $8.1m.

However, Mr Boggs said NZME would not pay a dividend to shareholders as it continued to focus on cutting debt.

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