The parent company of the Akron Beacon Journal reported it lost more than $9 million on higher revenue for its first quarter of 2019.
New Media Investment Group Inc., parent of Beacon Journal corporate owner GateHouse Media, said the $9.1 million loss came on revenue of $387.6 million for the quarter ending March 31. Revenue was up 13.7 percent from $340.8 million a year ago, but was down 7.4 percent for properties owned at least a year, also called same-store sales. New Media reported a $700,000 loss for the first quarter of 2018.
Digital revenue was up strongly while traditional print advertising fell, New Media reported. New Media’s other business segments performed well, the company said.
Results came in below analyst expectations. Shares of New Media hit a 52-week low of $10.22 in early trading. Shares recovered some ground by the end of the the market day, closing down 35 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $10.28. Shares have traded as high as $19.10 over the past 52 weeks.
“Our results this quarter reflect both solid performance in our growth businesses and continued progress in stabilizing our traditional print business. Our growth businesses, UpCurve and GateHouse Live, accounted for $34.9 million of total revenue, an increase of 27.3 percent compared to last year,” Michael E. Reed, New Media president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
UpCurve generated $26 million in revenue, up 34 percent from a year ago.
UpCurve is the GateHouse subsidiary that provides small business services. while GateHouse Live is an events production company.
Reed said adjusted earnings and free cash flow were strong in the quarter.
The company’s measures to grow adjusted earnings also has prevented positive same-store revenue in recent quarters, he said.
“We do expect to show improvement in our same store revenue trend in the coming quarters,” Reed said.
New Media said same-store revenue trends improved each month during the quarter and that the company expects same-store revenue and profitably trends will improve in the second quarter and rest of the year.
Digital revenue increased 23.8 percent from a year ago to $47.7 million and represented 12.3 percent of total first quarter revenue.
Digital-only subscriptions grew to 174,000, up 43.9 percent from a year ago.
While circulation revenue fell, subscriber volumes grew, New Media said.