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Irish Times loses €27.9m after ad revenue crumbles

Irish Times Ltd saw a loss of €27.9m in 2009, as turnover fell – but the loss is still less than that of 2008.

Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy was paid €319,000 last year - down €80,000 from 2008.
Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy was paid €319,000 last year - down €80,000 from 2008.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

THE IRISH TIMES’ parent company, The Irish Times Ltd, has reported an after-tax loss of €27.9m for the 2009 financial year, after turnover fell by almost a quarter.

Circulation of the newspaper fell slightly over the year, but the significant fall in turnover is largely attributable to the significant slump in advertising revenue, which dropped by a staggering 42.5% on 2008 as the economic slowdown fell.

The newspaper itself made an operating loss of €4.6m over the year, compared to an operating profit of €6.4m in 2008.

Much of Irish Times Ltd’s losses can also be put down to “exceptional costs” of €19.3m, including €8m in ‘reorganisation’ and €8.5m of an impairment on the property website MyHome.ie, which is owned by the company. Payroll costs had fallen by €9m on 2008.

Its executive directors were paid €3.1m over the year, including a voluntary €1.1m payment to former managing director Maeve Donovan who retired in February. Editor Geraldine Kennedy was paid €319,000, having taken a 20% pay cut from her 2008 salary of €399,000 as part of a company-wide pay cut programme.

The company’s new MD, Liam Kavanagh, told the Irish Times itself that the company’s new ‘e-paper‘ – which replaced the ‘Today’s Paper’ function on the website on March 18th – had achieved daily sales of 1,500, and that its iPhone app (€1.59) had been downloaded more than 30,000 times.

The MyHome.ie website was also “profitable” and all of the Times’ digital subsidiaries would be making profit by the end of 2010.

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Gavan Reilly

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