Gloomy outlook persists for newspaper publishers Torstar and Quebecor

Wed May 8, 2013 2:27pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Canadian newspaper publishers Torstar Corp and Quebecor Inc delivered more bad news to investors on Wednesday, saying that cost cuts were failing to keep pace with an accelerating decline in print media revenue.

Torstar shares fell as much as 9 percent to a three-year low after it reported a worse-than-expected 76 percent drop in first-quarter profit and a 6 percent fall in revenue from its media business.

Quebecor, whose shares fell as much as 6 percent, said profit fell by half as revenue from its print media business declined 11 percent.

Torstar, the owner of Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper by circulation, said it had cut 105 jobs in the quarter and would look for further cost cuts as the year progressed. The company cut 260 jobs in 2012.

It said print revenue was declining steadily and there were few signs of a recovery in the near future.

Torstar's net income plummeted to C$4.2 million, or 5 Canadian cents per share, from C$17.5 million, or 22 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Its media business accounted for 70 percent of total revenue of C$313.1 million in the quarter.

Torstar, which also owns the Harlequin brand of romance novels, said higher royalty rates paid to authors and lower sales also hurt its overall profit.

Quebecor -- whose titles include the Toronto Sun, the Calgary Sun and le Journal de Montreal -- cut 500 jobs in its media business in November.   Continued...