McClatchy reports 2016 loss, sees record gain in digital-only advertising – Charlotte Observer

Sacramento-based McClatchy, publisher of The Observer and 29 other newspapers, said Thursday that it lost $34.2 million in 2016.

The annual loss compares with a net loss of $300.2 million in 2015, which included non-cash charges and write-downs totaling $304.5 million.

Revenue for 2016 totaled $977.1 million, down 7.5 percent from 2015.

Overall advertising revenue for last year was $568.7 million, a year-over-year decline of 10.8 percent.

In a news release, McClatchy said softness in print advertising “negatively impacted traditional newspaper advertising revenues.”

The company noted that digital advertising revenue grew 4.3 percent from 2015 to 2016. The company said digital-only advertising was up a record 14.8 percent last year.

Like other newspaper publishers, McClatchy has faced a prolonged decline in print advertising revenue even as it puts more resources into digital products to capture a greater audience of online readers and advertisers.

Last month, the McClatchy announced a new president and CEO, Craig Forman, who has considerable experience in digital media. On Thursday, Forman was quoted in the company press release as saying: “We remain vigilant on cost control and expense reduction as we align the cost structure with the decline in traditional print advertising. Our intent is to sharpen our connections to our local markets, both in terms of audience and advertising, by accelerating our digital product and sales efforts.”

Forman noted that the last three months of 2016 marked the “fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in the digital-only advertising category.” He said the company reduced operating expenses by $347.4 million in 2016.

McClatchy reported fourth quarter 2016 net income of $3.1 million, compared with earnings of $8.8 million in the year-ago period. The company reported adjusted net income, which excludes severance and certain other items, in the fourth quarter of 2016 of $12.9 million, compared with adjusted net income of $17.3 million in the last quarter of 2015.

The fourth quarter and full year results were not affected by McClatchy’s acquisition of The Herald-Sun in Durham, N.C. That paper was purchased on Dec. 25, the last day of McClatchy’s fiscal year.


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