Murdoch stands by newspapers

07 May 2009

LONDON: Rupert Murdoch stood by his commitment to newspapers today, despite announcing that his London papers - The Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun, the News of the World and freesheet thelondonpaper - lost £51.3m ($76.95m, €57m) in 2006-2007.

This number doesn't take into account horrendous losses for the past year, as newspaper ad revenue has plummeted alongside the credit crunch. Even on the 2006-7 numbers, Murdoch's News Corporation has lost £300m on its UK newspapers in recent years.

Nearly all of this has been lost by The Times, the daily London flagship that Murdoch bought 20 years ago. The Murdoch tabloids, the Sun and News of the World, make money most years as does the advertising-stuffed Sunday Times.

Murdoch revealed this red ink in an interview with Brunswick PR executive David Yelland, a former editor of the Sun, in an interview with its company magazine.

Murdoch's UK newspaper strategy has always been to keep investing, through thick and thin, in the belief that rationalization in the newspaper industry would eventually take place and his titles in the UK would dominate the market.

Rival company Independent News & Media, publisher of the Independent and Independent on Sunday, is close to throwing in the towel after reporting a big loss and admitting it is facing problems paying loans due.

But the Telegraph and Guardian at the top end, and Trinity Mirror which competes with Murdoch's tabloid titles, are showing no imminent signs of going the same way.

Meanwhile freebie thelondonpaper, set up to compete with the paid-for Evening Standard, is losing about £17m a year.

Data sourced from Brunswick; additional content by WARC staff.