Tuesday 25 June 2019

INM to move towards subscription model as group reports profit of €11.5m

INM chief executive Michael Doorly. Photo: Steve Humphries
INM chief executive Michael Doorly. Photo: Steve Humphries
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Independent News & Media (INM), which last week reported profit of €11.5m before tax for the first six months of the year, is moving towards a subscription model, according to chief executive Michael Doorly.

Speaking after announcing half-year results, he said it was likely the company would continue to make some news content freely available but that the subscription element would focus on Irish and niche content.

"We are looking at the audience, they have a requirement for news, entertainment and information throughout the day so we will be looking at serving that need and ultimately giving them content that they value and are willing to pay for," he said.

"We are heading towards a subscription model but not immediately. We have to put the building blocks in place to understand the customers, invest in technology, so there is a fair bit of investment to be done," he added.

"We have a new senior executive team in place and now we are going to develop specific plans for our strategy."

Last Friday, INM, the publisher of the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent and several other leading titles, said revenue was €95m, down 4pc compared to the first half of last year. In line with expectations, pre-tax profits where down 22.8pc compared to the first half of 2017 due to the fall in revenues and exceptional costs of €2.1m incurred in the first half of 2018.

That included €1.9m of exceptional legal costs primarily linked to the group's response to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) application in the High Court seeking the appointment of inspectors to investigate the affairs of the group, including the costs of challenges to the lawfulness of the ODCE move.

This Tuesday, the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, will deliver judgment on the application brought by ODCE. The application was heard in July 2018, with judgment reserved.

Doorly said it would be impossible to estimate the final costs of the ODCE action.

The half-year results state that a decline of 4.1pc in sales was primarily driven by a decline in total advertising revenues of 10.5pc and a decline in circulation revenues of 6.2pc.

That was offset in part by an increase in distribution revenues - primarily driven by two acquisitions. The company said digital revenues were 2.9pc lower in the period than the same period of 2017 due to pressures from Google and Facebook.

Sunday Indo Business

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