McClatchy shows ‘hope’ despite 83% revenue fall

So, this is good news these days? “Despite an 83 percent drop in net income, the results announced Thursday offered at least one sign of hope: McClatchy’s ad revenue, its lifeblood, fell by its lowest rate in more than three years.”

The report by the AP’s Mike Liedtke says McClatchy’s 8 percent fall in ad revenue is the best performance since a 5 percent decline in the first quarter of 2007. But, as he also points out, today’s year-to-year comparisons are against poor performances. That’s 8 percent less than a number that was bad to begin with.

Net income for the quarter was $7.3 million, down from $42.2 million a year ago. Total revenue fell 6 percent to $342 million, the AP says.

The company is blaming the earnings plunge on “higher interest costs as we extended debt maturities,” according to the Sacramento Business Journal’s report.  Interest payments for the quarter were up 44 percent to $49 million compared to $34 million at the same time last year after restructuring in February that extended repayment to 2017.

McClatchy was struggling with a debt of $1.8 billion as of the end of June, the SBJ says.

The company also sold about 200,000, or 8 percent, fewer copies of its weekday newspapers this past quarter, though higher prices eased that hit a little.

McClatchy management projects a 4 to 6 percent revenue decline year-to-year for the coming third quarter.

“While the economic recovery hasn’t been robust or smooth, we believe it is beginning to spread across the markets we serve,” CEO Gary Pruitt said, according to the AP report.

Employment advertising, half of which is online these days, was up 1.5 percent in May, marking the first month of growth in employment advertising revenue in four years, the SBJ says. Employment advertising rose 0.8 percent in June.

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