NZME has reported a statutory net profit after tax of $1 million, with total revenue of $181.1 million and operating EBITDA of $19.4 million for the six months ended 30 June 2019.
These results are down on those reported in the first half of 2018, when the company’s net profit was $3.7 million, underlying profit was $23.2 million and revenue fell to $185.7 million.
Chief financial officer David Mackrell said in the announcement: “The industry-wide challenges around advertising spend have contributed to our half-yearly operating EBITDA of $19.4 million, down 16 percent compared to the previous corresponding period. An ongoing focus on costs has delivered a reduction in underlying operating costs during the period of $4.8 million. We are pleased to report we have reduced net debt by $8.1 million in the six months.”
About today’s results, chief executive Michael Boggs said: “Given the well-reported market headwinds, this is a solid result supported by strong growth in our digital initiatives.”
One of those digital initiatives is NZ Herald Premium, which NZME is reporting to have hit a new milestone with more than 15,000 paid digital subscribers. This, plus the NZ Herald newspaper subscribers who have activated their digital subscriptions gives NZ Herald Premium close to 40,000 subscribers.
In its financial results, NZME also makes mention of its radio revenue, which for the first time in several years is in growth.
Boggs credits the result to its talent on air as well as its sales teams.
He adds looking into the second half of the year, radio’s momentum is showing continued momentum.
NZME’s real estate journalism and property listings platform, OneRoof, also received a mention in the results reporting, with its monthly unique browsers growing 33 percent in the past six months to 297,000.
Looking forward, Boggs said there are some encouraging signs in advertising spending as it heads into the second half of its financial year, with third-quarter bookings up six percent year-on-year.