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This article was published 11/11/2011 (2932 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
DECLINING revenues and higher operating costs took a bite out of the bottom line for the company that owns the Winnipeg Free Press and Brandon Sun.
FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership (FPLP) said Thursday its third-quarter profit declined by $400,000 to $2.8 million in the wake of a $100,000 decline in revenues and an $800,000 increase in operating expenses.
Revenues for the quarter totalled $26.4 million versus $26.5 million for the same period in 2010. Operating expenses were $21.9 million versus $21.1 million.
The weaker showing left net earnings for the first nine months running 3.3 per cent behind last year's pace — $10.7 million versus $11.1 million.
The company said without the positive contribution of the Steinbach printing and publishing operation it acquired last February — Derksen Printers and the Carillon weekly newspaper — third-quarter net earnings would have been $2.6 million, and for the nine months it would have been $10.2 million.
Among the bright spots on the revenue side was that revenues from the company's online, or digital, operations grew by 17 per cent to $607,000 during the quarter. Print advertising revenues, on the other hand, declined by 1.9 per cent to $17.7 million due to softer display and classified advertising. And circulation revenue declined by 4.2 per cent to $6.9 million.
During a conference call with analysts, Winnipeg Free Press publisher Bob Cox said FPLP has added a couple of new online features to help boost digital revenues.
One is a digital flyers feature on winnipegfreepress.com. Every time a visitor to the site clicks on one of the flyers, it generates revenue for the paper.
The other is a new pro hockey application that can be downloaded onto smartphones and other mobile devices. It, too, generates new advertising revenues.
Cox said over the first nine months of this year, FPLP's digital advertising revenues grew at an even faster pace than its online traffic — 36 per cent versus 25 per cent.
And while digital revenues still account for only about 3.5 per cent of total revenues, FPLP is hoping that number will grow to five per cent within the next two years, and to 10 per cent within five years.
FP Newspapers Inc., the publicly traded company that owns securities entitling it to 49 per cent of FPLP's distributable cash, also issued its third-quarter results on Thursday. It reported a profit of $1 million, or 14.1 cents, versus $1.5 million, or 21.9 cents a share for the same period last year.
It blamed the poorer showing on a $400,000 increase in deferred-income tax expense and a $200,000 decrease in the equity share of FPLP's earnings.
FF Newspaper Inc.'s shares (FPI) trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange and closed Thursday down 24 cents to $4.11.