/// McClatchy Books Flat 1Q Loss, Advertising Revenue Down 6.8%
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–McClatchy Co. (MNI) booked a $2.1 million loss for the first quarter, nearly unchanged from a year earlier, as advertising sales continue to slump at the company’s newspapers.
McClatchy–similar to fellow newspaper publishers New York Times Co. (NYT) and Gannett Co. (GCI)–is attempting to derive more revenue from digital advertising as print ad sales continue to slump. It also has sought to cut costs as readers and advertisers eschew print for online content.
Revenue from online ads increased 2.7% during the quarter, but it failed to offset a broader 6.8% drop in total advertising revenue. Digital ads comprise only about one-fifth of McClatchy’s total advertising revenue.
“Digital continues to be a high-growth opportunity for the company,” Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said. Pruitt is leaving the company to become CEO of the Associated Press. Patrick Talamantes, McClatchy’s current chief financial officer, will become CEO next month.
The publisher of The Sacramento Bee and The Miami Herald noted that the rate of decline in its advertising sales improved throughout the quarter.
For the first quarter, McClatchy reported a loss of $2.1 million, or 2 cents per share, compared to a similar year-ago loss of $2 million, or 2 cents per share. Excluding items like severance charges and gains from repurchasing debt, McClatchy reported an adjusted loss of $2.5 million, narrower than the year-ago loss of $3.4 million.
Revenues fell 5.1% to $288.3 million.
McClatchy cut its operating expenses, excluding restructuring charges, by more than 4% during the quarter. It also reduced its total debt load by $35.5 million during the quarter to $1.6 billion.
McClatchy shares, down about 22% over the past year, rose 4.5% to $2.76.