Torstar Corporation First Quarter Results: Newspapers and Digital Down 11%

[praized subtype=”small” pid=”38350f4a561be91fb4e8550fb6eb4a16″ type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] just release their Q1 2009 results. Excerpts from their press release:

“The first quarter was a tale of two solitudes: Harlequin delivered an excellent quarter of growth while our newspaper businesses confronted lower advertising revenues as a result of the recession,” said Robert Prichard, President and CEO of Torstar Corporation.

(…)

Revenue in the newspapers and digital segment was down 11 percent as the recession has hurt numerous advertising categories led by employment, real estate and automotive. While aggressive cost management across our newspaper businesses mitigated the impact of the revenue reduction, it has been insufficient to prevent a sharp drop in profitability. The newspapers also faced higher pension costs and newsprint pricing in the quarter which accentuated the reduction in profitability.

(…)

Newspapers and Digital revenue was $214.5 million in the quarter, down $27.1 million from $241.6 million in 2008…

(…)

Newspapers and Digital Segment operating loss was $4.8 million in the first quarter of 2009, down $17.2 million from an operating profit of $12.4 million in the same quarter last year. The segment realized labour cost savings from restructurings undertaken in 2008 that more than offset higher newsprint prices and higher pension costs in the quarter. However, the cost savings were not sufficient to offset the revenue declines.

(…)

Torstar expects that advertising revenue will continue to be soft through the balance of the year.

via Torstar Corporation Reports First Quarter Results – Yahoo! Finance.

What it means: TorStar corporation, publisher of daily and weekly newspapers, is suffering from the cyclical and structural advertising slowdown in the newspaper industry. The good news for Torstar is that they publish books as well through their Harlequin division. That business is doing very well and is helping them weather the storm. TorStar has been experimenting in social media through their OurFaves.com initiative.

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