Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Torstar Q3 Revenue Down 13% as Advertisers Spend Less with Newspaper Group

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Torstar Q3 Revenue Down 13% as Advertisers Spend Less with Newspaper Group

Article excerpt

Torstar reports loss, Q3 revenue down 13%

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TORONTO - Torstar Corp. lost $18.8 million in its third quarter, as the newspaper and digital publisher experienced a 13 per cent decline in revenue led by weaker print advertising.

Revenue after eliminating sales between different parts of the business totalled $126.4 million, down from $145.9 million -- a bigger decline than analysts had estimated.

Torstar CEO John Boynton told analysts that print advertising was more difficult to get during the quarter compared with earlier this year -- when the company had seen some strengthening of local advertising.

However, he said Torstar's base of subscribers is proving to be resilient and an increasingly important part of the company's strategy for dealing with a change in consumer and advertiser use of media.

Revenue from subscribers grew to nearly $29.8 million compared with $29.3 million a year ago, edging out digital advertising as Torstar's second-largest revenue stream after print advertising.

Subscriber revenue represented 21 per cent of the total (up from 18 per cent) compared with 20 per cent from digital advertising, 19 per cent from distributing flyers and 33 per cent from print advertising (down from 38 per cent).

"We are making very good progress on many fronts," Boynton said during a conference call with financial analysts. "The mix of our business continues to change, with some things eroding faster than others but also some things getting added."

Since Boynton joined the company in March 2017, Torstar has undertaken a number of initiatives including an increased emphasis on data analytics -- to better match advertising with consumers -- and the introduction of a paywall at thestar.com, the website for its flagship Toronto Star newspaper, on Sept. 27.

The paywall limits the number of digital articles and other content that can be accessed by non-subscribers while a subscription provides access to a broader selection of content from the Toronto Star and other sources. …

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