Torstar posts Q3 loss of $70.8 million as revenue falls, cost-cutting continues


TORONTO – Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B), owner of the Toronto Star newspaper, struggled to keep advertisers buying space in its flagship newspaper, even as a scandal involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gained momentum this summer.

The media company, which also owns Harlequin books and other community newspapers across Canada, says it lost $70.8 million in the third quarter, which factored in a 16.6-per cent slide in print advertising revenue at the Toronto Star.

The loss also included an $85.4-million writedown taken on the long-term value on some of its less successful media assets.

Torstar expects that advertisers will remain fickle as they look for alternatives to buying space in newspapers. The company noted a particular decline in advertising buys across its national platforms, particularly in automotive, real estate and retail.

“The media segment continued to face challenges as a result of shifts in spending by advertisers combined with economic uncertainty,” said chief financial officer Lorenzo DeMarchi in a conference call.

“For the balance of the year, we expect print advertising revenues to continue to be under pressure, but we anticipate that distribution revenue will continue to grow.”

As a result, Torstar had an overall loss of 89 cents per share in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $11.1 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same three months ended Sept. 30 last year.

On an adjusted basis, Torstar earned 21 cents per share, which met analyst expectations according to a survey by Thomson Reuters, and came in a one cent higher than a year ago, after excluding the asset impairment, restructuring costs and some other items.

The latest quarter included a total of about $6 million in restructuring charges, mostly in the media division — actually about $1 million less than the year before.

Torstar’s overall revenue was down 7.7 per cent from a year earlier, dropping to $328 million from $355.3 million in the third quarter of 2012.

The media division, which includes Torstar’s newspapers, accounted for $227.4 million of the total revenue, about $20 million less than a year earlier, while revenue from book publishing was $100.6 million, nearly $8 million lower than in the third quarter of 2012.

Torstar says restructuring and cost reduction will continue to be a major focus to contend with lower revenues.

Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with the parent companies of the Globe and Mail and Montreal La Presse.

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Torstar posts Q3 loss of $70.8 million as revenue falls, cost-cutting continues

  1. I love reading articles like this, then wondering how much it cost to scramble the media helicopter that followed Rob Ford around all day.

    Faster please. Can’t go bankrupt soon enough.

    • john g,

      I hear Rob Ford is looking for a new campaign manager for 2014.

      please call and leave a message: 416-397-FORD (3673).

      His Worship will return your call – guaranteed.

      • It would be a very short call. My only advice to him would be to resign.

  2. The Star has become a hysterical old woman about everything. Or maybe it’s because nobody is reading it anymore unless they get it free. Most people now know there is no bogey man in the closet but the Star still thinks it can sway public opinion by insisting there is.

  3. Wow, this is good news. An 8 percent drop in revenue. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

    • ALL traditional print media is struggling. People simply consume their news and media in different ways now, and most of those ways are available for free to them.

      In the not-so-distant future printed news like The Star, Sun, G&M, and so on will be dead, and TV news and news aggregating sites will be all that is left.

      • Nice try. The whole company lost 8%, and that includes the web site.
        And there is print media that is not struggling, such as the wall street journal.
        So you’re wrong.

  4. Al-STARzeera going down the tubes say it an’t so…

  5. I laughed so hard when I read this…I think I dropped one of my Zionist Imperialist Bike Lane Hating Rob Ford Loving testicles.

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