paidContent - Earnings: Guardian Media Group Swings To $148 Million Loss

This story was written by Patrick Smith.
It has warned throughout the year that its full year numbers would be grim and here’s the proof: for the year to March 29 Guardian Media Group made a pre-tax loss of 89.8 million ($148.8 million) and revenue of 405.4 million ($672.1 million), almost 100 million less than in 2007-8. Revenue rises to 637.9 million ($1.05 billion) when including its shares in B2B publisher Emap and Trader Media Group—and the full-year loss is partly due to selling half its stake in TMG to Apax Partners. But the cost cuts across GMG’s operations look set to continue: chair Amelia Fawcett says the company needs to “re-examine and reshape many of our existing business models if we are to continue to be successful,” though she adds that GMG’s unusual ownership structures offers “some protection from the current economic storm.”

Release | Annual report

Guardian News & Media: GNM made an operating loss of 36.8 million ($61. million) for 2008-9—compared to a loss of 26.4 million ($43.7 million) a year earlier—on turnover of 253.6 million ($420.4 million), a 8.3 million drop year on year. GMG says the division—which publishes The Guardian, The Observer and the internationally-minded—is affected by “on-going structural issues”, which have led to a series of voluntary redundancies and a recruitment freeze. Disclosure: paidContent:UK’s parent company ContentNext Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of GNM.

GMG Regional: Perhaps the worst hit of GMG’s empire, the regional division made profits of 500,000 ($824,000), a tiny amount compared to the 14.3 million ($23.7 million) profit in 2008—and GMG says since the end of the financial year things have got worse and the division is running at a loss. The division cut almost 300 jobs at Manchester Evening News publisher MEN Media and at Reading Evening Post publisher Surrey & Berkshire Media. Property revenue fell by 46 percent, recruitment by 34 percent, so revenue is down 26 million to 94.5 million ($156.6 million).

Trader Media Group TMG, in which GMG has a 50 percent stake, made profit before exceptionals 110.8 million ($183.6 million)—slightly down on 2008’s 119.8 million ($198.6 million)—and revenue of 296 million ($490.7 million) through its stable of print titles and The company as a whole made 85 percent of its profits from digital, compared to 70 percent a year ago as unique monthly users to grew to around 10 million.

Emap: The B2B publisher, which GMG also owns half of, made profit before exceptionals of 98.2 million ($162.8 million) and revenue of 284.9 million ($472.3 million). Like every other publisher It’s had its problems and has been force to make some layoffs, but GMG points out its business model is “evenly distributed” between data, events and publishing—and its 35 percent profit margin would make most news publishers somewhat envious right now.

By Patrick Smith