Torstar posts bigger loss than expected as print ads fall

(Reuters) - Torstar Corp TSb.TO, the publisher of the Toronto Star, reported a bigger-than-expected loss in the third quarter, as its print business attracted fewer advertisers.

Torstar said on Wednesday its print advertising revenue fell 15 percent in the latest quarter, but added that it expects growth in its VerticalScope unit to offset weak advertising revenue for the rest of the year.

Toronto-based VerticalScope runs hundreds of websites and online forums.

Torstar, like other publishers, has been struggling to offset the steady defection of advertisers from newspapers to social media and search websites.

Torstar’s revenue fell 10 percent to C$145.91 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, falling short of analysts’ average estimate of C$147 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company posted a net loss of C$6.6 million ($5.1 million) or 8 Canadian cents per share, compared to a profit of C$1.4 million or 2 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Torstar posted a loss of 8 Canadian cents per share. Analysts had expected a loss of 4 Canadian cents.

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Sai Sachin Ravikumar