Fairfax Media’s New Zealand arm saw its revenue and earnings fall in the first half of the financial year, mainly from the weak performance of its print advertising.
Despite the loss, Greg Hywood, chief executive at Fairfax, said, “Weakness in print advertising revenue was partially offset by strong digital growth of 21 per cent and significant expansion in the contribution of events. Circulation revenue declined eight per cent with volume declines offsetting improvements in yield.”
On the other hand, the company managed an eight per cent reduction in operating costs. But earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 6.2 per cent compared to the previous period and revenue fell 4.1 per cent. Advertising dropped 9.9 per cent to $107.9m and circulation revenue also fell.
Fairfax has readied its New Zealand assets for a merger with the operations of NZME. The Commerce Commission had put off its final decision to March 15.
NZME and Fairfax claim that the proposed merger will mean they can compete with the likes of Google and Facebook, which take about 80 percent of all digital ad revenue, to create a sustainable business that supports local journalism and contributes to New Zealand’s tax base.
However, concerns remain in the rest of the media community about the long-term sustainability of print in this country should the Commission allow such a publishing and electronic media juggernaut to come into being.

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