Losses at Rupert Murdoch's UK flagships The Times and the Sunday Times increased by 40% to £40.1 million ($75.45m; €58.29m) last year, according to documents filed at Companies House.

The losses widened despite a 22% rise in turnover, due almost certainly to the launch of the tabloid edition of The Times in November 2003. Together with the Sunday title, it incurred an extra £34.1m in costs compared with the year before.

The turnover at Times Newspapers in the year to 30 June 2004 rose 6% to £400.6m from £377.9m the prior year. But the pre-tax loss at £40.1m was two-and-a-half times the £16.3m loss in the 2001-02 fiscal.

However, tycoon Murdoch has always seen the twin properties as a loss leader which to influence the British establishment. Together with his barrel-scraping tabloids, The Sun and News of the World, Murdoch commands over 37% of UK newspaper readership - and an ever-open door at Number 10 Downing Street.

  • Meantime, Starcom's media market report for the first two months of 2005 shows the UK national press as a whole slowly recovering from the lean post-millennium years.

    Advertising revenues rose marginally by 0.7% despite circulation falls of 2.1% across the sector as a whole. Only the mid-market titles enjoyed both circulation and ad revenue growth.

    Comments the report: "Perhaps of most concern is newspapers' increasing reliance on retail advertising, with both finance and motors in decline."

    Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk and Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff