INM online revenue rises as it introduces 'digital first' strategy
Irish based publisher Independent News and Media (INM) has increased its digital revenue but has also pledged to continue cost-cutting measures.
The company – which owns titles; the Irish Independent and Belfast Telegraph, reported a 30 per cent rise in digital revenue to €3.9m, but recorded an overall loss of €2.1m in six months to the end of June. It blamed a €16.1m charge relating to a “non-cash accounting adjustment” connected with group’s non-participation” in an share issue by its Australian associate APN without which the company would have made a profit of €14m.
The company also claimed that the Irish Independent website had received 500 million page impressions for the year so far and cited mobile as a key area of focus for the title, having launched its new product in May, with nearly half (45 per cent) of its audience coming to its content through that channel.
Meanwhile, the Sunday World website recorded over 1 million unique visits and 5 million page impressions in July, almost four times its annual traffic, during which time is also launched the Sunday World Exclusive subscription service which offered access to digital archives and exclusive content, as well as the weekly newspaper delivered through its new native app.
Commentating on the results company chairman, Leslie Buckley told the Irish Times that despite INM reducing its cost base by €26m last year, there was still scope for further action stating; “We’re going to see even more aggressive cost reductions over the next 12 to 18 months” and setting a target of a further €20m in savings through redundancies and the merging of editorial functions.
Meanwhile members of the National Union of Journalists have attacked what they called an “oppressive management culture” at the company, claiming that this was “undermining the health and welfare of workers throughout the company.”
In a separate motion, NUJ members also expressed regret at the sudden departure of Irish Independent editor, Claire Grady after only a year in the post by expressing its “disappointment” and calling for “an open and transparent” process when appointing her successor.
Circulation figures at the company’s flagship title, the Irish Independent, continued to decline with sales falling by 7.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2013 with a daily average of 112,383 copies of the paper being sold. Print advertising revenue also fell in the six-month period by 2.7 per cent to €35.9m but this was largely compensated for by an impressive 30 per cent rise in digital advertising income to €3.9m.
Earlier this month, INM announced it was merging the operations of two of its tabloid newspapers - the Sunday World and The Herald - as part of a strategy its editor-in-chief, Stephen Rae described as a “content centre” as part of the group’s "digital first” strategy.