22 Aug 2009

APN profit drops by half

1:54 pm on 22 August 2009

The Australian owner of the New Zealand Herald newspaper has announced the company's profit has halved.

APN News and Media made $A36.1 million profit in the six months to December, a fall of 50% on the previous year.

Underlying revenue fell 18% to $A567 million, with big falls in revenue from its New Zealand publishing and radio operations.

APN's New Zealand stable, which includes the New Zealand Women's Weekly magazine, Herald on Sunday and radio stations such as Newstalk ZB, make up around half the company's business.

Despite the sluggish performance on this side of the Tasman, chief executive Brendan Hopkins says forward orders for New Zealand publishing look healthier and the online business is continuing to grow.

He says the company wants to improve web-based revenues and is considering introducing paid content by the end of the year.

APN says it has a number of initiatives to address the sharp decline in radio revenues in New Zealand and has already reduced costs by 11% following a restructuring in 2008.

The company says circulation was maintained at both The New Zealand Herald and Herald on Sunday, while the Weekend Herald is now the most read newspaper in New Zealand.