NZME has reported a net profit of $11.6m and says it will launch an online paywall in the second quarter this year.

The company owns the NZ Herald, several radio stations, and online resource tools and says its results reflect a modest decline in revenue and further investment in growth businesses. Trading revenue declined two per cent in the year to December 2018 to $378.4m while trading Ebitda fell 17 per cent to $54.7m in line with guidance issued in February. Trading ebitda excluded exceptional items of $9.2m, including redundancy costs of $5.2m.

NZME says its advertising revenue faced continued structural pressures in print advertising, intensified by weaker business and consumer confidence, which affected agency advertising demand in radio, digital and print.

Peter Cullinane, chairman at NZME, says despite the challenging trading conditions, the company’s revenue decline slowed, from 4 per cent to 2 per cent. He says, “We have made significant progress to strengthen the company by investing in a number of promising new revenue opportunities to grow long-term shareholder value. We continue to actively assess opportunities for improvement and growth that arise from the on-going media industry consolidation.

NZME has not said how much it will charge subscribers to access the paywall, however it did confirm it would adopt the ‘freemium’ model with day to day news and current affairs provided free of charge and in depth analysis and opinion available on subscription. It will aim for 10,000 digital subscribers within the first year.

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