Business & Real Estate

Sacramento’s McClatchy posts second-quarter loss

McClatchy reported a second-quarter loss Thursday as the Sacramento-based newspaper chain continued its decadelong struggle with the shift to a digitally dominated media landscape.

The owner of The Sacramento Bee and 28 other daily newspapers said it lost $1.5 million in the second quarter, excluding certain one-time adjustments. That compared to a profit of $100,000 a year earlier.

Including all items, McClatchy had a $14.7 million net loss, or $1.89 per share. A year earlier, with a $300 million write-off, the net loss was $296.5 million, or $33.91 per share.

Revenue fell 7.7 percent, to $242.2 million, and advertising sales dropped 11.1 percent. Print ads, once the mainstay of the newspaper business, accounted for only 29.6 percent of McClatchy’s total revenue, down from 33.2 percent a year ago.

Pat Talamantes, McClatchy’s president and chief executive, said the company is making progress in its digital transformation. But he said the slide in print revenue in the second quarter was slightly worse than anticipated.

The decline in print “is not anticipated to subside in the next two quarters,” Talamantes said on a conference call with investment analysts. He said the company’s direct-marketing revenue has slipped, too.

During the quarter, digital advertising grew 4.4 percent. Digital-only ad sales, which weren’t connected to print ad sales, jumped 16.1 percent.

While the company remains committed to print, Talamantes said digital is an ever-increasing focus. “All we can try to do is grow the digital side of our business … as fast as we can,” he said.

Circulation and other audience revenue fell less than one-half of 1 percent to $90.5 million. Digital audience revenue increased 1.5 percent.

McClatchy shares closed at $16.96, up 14 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange. A reverse stock split approved in June led to an immediate jump in McClatchy’s stock price, and shares have continued to rise in the past month. Talamantes said the split has attracted “a broader investor base” to the company’s stock.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler