Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood outlined the difficulties confronting the group as he revealed a 6 per cent slide in overall revenues, despite a substantial lift in income from its real estate listings division, Domain.
In a financial update at delivered at the Macquarie Australia conference yesterday, Mr Hywood said overall group revenues were 6 per cent below last year for the in the first 17 weeks of the second half
Overall Domain revenues were up 10 per cent, with its total digital business up 18 per cent
However, Metro Media and Australian Community Media were down around 11 per cent, New Zealand Media down around 3 per cent including currency impact, while Macquarie Media was down around 7 per cent.
Mr Hywood reaffirmed the company’s intention to list Domain as a separate entity, in which Fairfax would hold around 60 to 70 per cent, and defended the company’s editorial staff cuts announced earlier in the week.
He said the company’s three publishing businesses had made considerable progress in transforming to more sustainable models.
“It is self-evident that publishing was facing structural challenges and these could only be addressed by completely resetting existing models.”
Mr Hywood said that over the past five years, the company had reduced publishing costs by more than a net $400 million.
“Publishing cash flows have been invested in creating new growth businesses, as well as substantially de-risking the transition to digitally-driven futures.
“Through this entire transition our publishing businesses have remained profitable. And that’s without the benefit of metro real estate classified advertising which we report as part of Domain.
“Our publishing businesses have large-scale, high quality audiences at their core, and these audiences and data are instrumental in building our growth businesses. Standout examples of the success of this strategy are Domain and Stan, and there are early promising signs from our new car lead generation model in Drive and our New Zealand ISP, Stuff Fibre. “