McClatchy loss widens in the first quarter

04/23/2014 6:20 AM

04/23/2014 6:28 AM

The McClatchy Co. reported a wider first-quarter loss amid a continuing decline in revenue, but the company said it continues to make considerable progress with its digital strategies.

Sacramento-based McClatchy, which publishes The Bee and 29 other newspapers, said it lost $5.9 million during the quarter, excluding certain one-time items. That compared with a $700,000 loss a year earlier. The bottom-line loss totaled $15.8 million, or 18 cents a share. A year earlier, the firm lost $12.7 million, or 15 cents a share.

McClatchy said total revenue fell 2.7 percent during the quarter to $287.2 million; advertising sales fell 6.7 percent and circulation revenue grew 5.8 percent.

President and Chief Executive Pat Talamantes said the revenue decline of 2.7 percent was an improvement compared to the first quarter of 2013, when revenue fell 4 percent. He called that a “meaningful result” given the severe winter storms in the Midwest and Southeast, and the fact that Easter migrated from the first quarter last year to the second quarter this year.

He said he was pleased that McClatchy continues to expand its online and mobile businesses. Digital-only revenues, which include digital advertising and circulation not connected to the print paper, jumped 11.6 percent in the quarter.

“It’s really heartening for us to see ... the improvement there,” Talamantes said during a conference call with investment analysts.

While print remains profitable, McClatchy now gets less than 40 percent of its total revenue from print advertising, he said.

The latest results don’t include the $147 million distribution McClatchy received in early April from its share of the proceeds of the just-sold classified advertising website Apartments.com.

Several media outlets have reported that a much bigger website in which McClatchy is an investor, Cars.com, is also for sale. Talamantes said he wouldn’t comment on those reports.

McClatchy shares closed at $5.96, down 37 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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