The Irish Times reported a 46% increase in operating profits and a 17% increase in turnover for 2019, according to its latest accounts, details of which were published in today’s issue of the paper.
For the year to the end of December 2019, turnover rose to €110.1m while operating profits, before exceptional items, amounted to €3.82m. The company also reported a pre-tax profit of €2.9m for the year, compared to a loss of €1.49m in 2018. Net cash at the end of the year, meanwhile, rose from €14.2m at the end of 2018 to €16.6m at the end of 2019.
The accounts for the publisher include a full year’s contribution from Landmark Media which owns a number of the Irish Examiner as well as a number of regional newspapers and stakes in local radio stations. Landmark was acquired in 2018 and its publications include the Irish Examiner, Evening Echo, the Waterford News & Star, the Western People, the Carlow Nationalist, the Kildare Nationalist, the Laois Nationalist and the Roscommon Herald. Its radio assets include a 75% stake in WLR in Waterford and regional station Beat as well as a 17.6% holding in Cork local station Red FM. Digital assets acquired as part of the purchase include Breakingnews.ie, Irishexaminer.com, Recruitireland.com, and 75% stake in the sports website Benchwarmers.ie.
Today’s Irish Times also reports that a paid content model will soon be introduced for the recently relaunched IrishExaminer.com website, while investment will also be made in Cork daily the Echo as well as its regional titles that became part of the group in 2018.
With revenues from print circulation and advertising still under pressure, the Irish Times’ managing director, Liam Kavanagh says that the group’s transition to digital is still a work in progress with a 6% increase in paid subscribers during 2019. At the end of 2019, it had 89,688 digital and home delivery subscribers. “Our objective is to become less dependent on print revenues and more on paid digital content,” he told the Irish Times.