Times Media results a mixed bag

Times Media Group described its financial performance for the year ended June 2013, as a “mixed bag” amid restructuring, as the group saw its earnings slide.

Revenue from continuing operations declined to R3.899 billion, from R3.949 billion before, while profit from operations slipped to R6 million, from R172 million. Profit from discontinued operations improved to R83 million.

Times Media reported a diluted headline loss per ordinary share from continuing operations of 16 cents, compared to headline earnings of 5 cents.

Diluted headline earnings per ordinary share from continuing and discontinued operations amounted to 17 cents, from 33 cents before.

“It has been an eventful financial year for TMG. The year has been marked by a corporate restructuring transaction, changes in senior management, changes in the board of directors, as well as a significant cost reduction initiative,” the group said in a statement.

TMG said it reduced the cost-base by approximately R100 million.

The group also identified the following as discontinued operations: I-Net Bridge, its books division including Exclusive Books and Van Schaik Bookstore, its entertainment cinemas business including NuMetro.

TMG profit
TMG profit

Media division

TMG’s media assets reside primarily in print with its brands including Sunday Times, The Times, Sowetan, and the Sunday World.

Business Day and Financial Mail were also fully integrated into the existing TMG Media division during the year.

TMG said its newspaper and digital audience grew to 10,972,044 people in 2013, from 10,424,880 before.

Operating profit before exceptional items lifted 58% from R108 million to R171 million on the back of stronger ad spend, reduced printing costs in Gauteng, and from aggressive overhead cuts.

The EBITDA of the group’s newspaper, magazine and news websites increased by 31% to R188 million in the year under review.

Digital

“We recognise that digital income is contributed in cents, in smaller increments than the Rands we are accustomed to receiving from print advertising. We have therefore scaled back dramatically on our investment in technology and staff, deciding to focus on the aggregation of popular content already favoured by the users of our free Times
Media Live sites,” TMG said.

In the year under review, the Media division incurred retrenchment costs amounting to R8 million. “These staff cut-backs will, however, result in annual savings of R18 million going forward. The majority of staff cut-backs were in the support services departments,” TMG said.

The group said that Times Media Live (TML) grew revenue by 50%, and reduced overheads by more than 45%. As a result, the business recorded its first ever positive EBITDA contribution.

It pointed out that since the launch of the paywall in May, BDLive has realised more than 30,000 online registrations and generated revenue in excess of R600,000 through
subscriptions.

Looking ahead, TMG said that the following twelve months are expected to remain challenging given the stretched position of the South African consumer.

More on Times Media

Times Media finds buyer for Exclusive Books

BDFM planning more retrenchments: report

Times Media buys into African radio and TV

Times Media sells I-Net Bridge

Times Media confirms BDFM takeover

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Times Media results a mixed bag