New Zealand Herald publisher NZME reports a 52 per cent loss in profit after tax in its half year results, to $3.7m.

The company also suffered a three per cent drop in revenue to $185.7m.

The company says pressure on the print advertising markets along with weaker business and consumer confidence had an impact on its print advertising revenue, which declined four per cent on the same period last year. However, it reports growth in readership and audience for its print mastheads.

Michael Boggs, chief executive at NZME, says, “We were pleased, given difficult market conditions, to keep our first half trading revenue within three per cent of the same period last year.”

Looking for new revenue streams, it says it will press ahead with plans to install a paywall on its web site for online readers to pay for what it calls premium content. NZME will adopt a freemium model with day-to-day news and current affairs provided free of charge, and premium in-depth analysis and opinion available on subscription. 

Peter Cullinane, chairman at NZME, says, “Our underlying business continues to perform well in challenging market conditions, providing us with the capacity to undertake a number of exciting growth projects while still delivering returns to shareholders in the form of a 2.0 cent fully imputed half year dividend.”

NZME and Stuff have appealed the High Court’s ruling on their proposed merger. They expect a judgment before the end of the year.

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