Friday, June 06 15:45:25
Independent News and Media today said it plans to cut spending on its national newspaper titles as it increases investment in its Internet publishing.
Chairman Leslie Buckley told the media group's AGM in Dublin today that it plans to cut E20 million from its operating costs over the course of 2014 and 2015.
He said that the group is also stepping up its "substantial" investment in digital activities.
Mr Buckley told INM shareholders that investment in its "central” digital offering would "lead to value creation” in the business, with online audience growth in turn leading to higher digital advertising revenues.
The sale of the South African business, a restructuring of debt and pension scheme and a E40m capital raise were some of the main developments in 2013, he added.
"2013 was a transformational year for INM, which culminated in a net debt figure of E95.3m at the end of the year," he said.
"This is less than a quarter of the E422.4m debt at the outset of 2013."
Last year, INM reported an operating profits of E32.7m, in line with the previous year.
The year also marked a 12pc increase in digital revenues to just under E10m.
However, in the year-to-date this growth has hiked to 17.8pc.
"We have a clear focus for our digital offering and have invested in the recruitment of the right talent, the quality of our content and delivery to various digital platforms," Mr Buckley said.
"We now have over 7 million unique visitors per month which is 63pc up on this time last year."
There has also been an improvements in print revenue in the second half of the year, despite a decrease earlier.
"Notwithstanding the investment in digital, we strongly believe in newspapers and we continue to drive our excellent portfolio of national newspaper titles, namely, The Irish Independent, The Herald, The Sunday World, The Sunday Independent, the Irish Daily Star, The Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life as well as our suite of regional titles."
"These titles continue to draw huge audiences with their dominant market positions."
He added that there is a continued clear focus in INM to support our print offering, invest in and grow digital and to carefully control costs.
"Your board and management are fully committed to driving INM forward under those headings."