The McClatchy Co. reported a narrower first-quarter loss Wednesday, although the owner of The Sacramento Bee continued to struggle with declining revenue.
Sacramento-based McClatchy said it lost $7.9 million in the quarter, excluding certain one-time adjustments. That compared with a loss of $8.7 million a year earlier.
McClatchy revenue fell 7.5 percent in the quarter, to $238 million, continuing a decade-long trend as newspaper publishers and other traditional media work to transition from print to digital advertising and subscriptions. Advertising revenue was down 9.9 percent from a year earlier, largely because of the ongoing slippage in print advertising. But the decline in print was slower than a year ago, and was partly offset by growth in McClatchy’s digital ad sales.
Digital ad revenue rose 4.1 percent from a year ago. Digital-only advertising, meaning ad sales not connected to the sale of print ads, jumped 18 percent. Audience revenue, including circulation in both print and digital, declined 2.7 percent. However, digital audience revenue was up 4.5 percent as the company pushes digital initiatives more aggressively.
“We’re executing on digital at a high level and keeping our costs in check in the face of declines in print revenue,” said President and Chief Executive Pat Talamantes in a conference call with investment analysts.
As McClatchy continues to grapple with falling revenue, the company is looking for new ways to generate cash. Last week McClatchy announced it is exploring the sale of The Bee’s main office and printing facility in midtown Sacramento, which would include McClatchy’s headquarters. The company also is exploring the sale of its newspaper buildings in Kansas City, Mo., and Columbia, S.C. The newspapers would lease the properties back from the buyers.
“Proceeds from these sales would be used to reduce the company’s debt obligations, reinvest in our business or other corporate purposes,” Talamantes said. McClatchy is already in the process of selling The Bee’s parking garage to Sacramento developer Sotiris Kolokotronis.
McClatchy shares closed at $1.20, down 7 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.