Growth across the board for The Times and The Sunday Times
Times Newspapers Ltd (TNL), which owns both newspapers, has posted an operating profit of £1.7million for the latest financial year ended 30 June 2014.
In the previous financial year TNL recorded a loss of nearly £6 million and five years ago, in the year prior to the launch of paid digital membership, the annual losses amounted to more than £70 million.
- Times Newspapers Ltd posts operating profit of £1.7m for year ended 30 June 2014, its first since 2001
- Total membership across both titles over 390,000 – up 10% year-on-year
- The Times posts total paid sales growth for 11th consecutive month
- The award-winning journalism of The Times and The Sunday Times has delivered a profit for the first time in 13 years it was announced today.
Both newspapers have increased their share of print sales and secured a healthy growth in membership. Members are now paying £6 a week for seven-day print or digital membership packages. At launch, digital members paid just £2 per week.
The latest figures for October show total paid sales for The Times up year-on-year at 545,000 and The Sunday Times at 958,000. Membership accounted for 291,000 (54%) and 338,000 (35%) of total paid sales respectively and the growth in membership has enabled the papers to meet the challenges of a difficult advertising market.
Across both titles there has been a 10% growth in membership to 390,000, as at end October, comprising 170,000 members taking our digital only product, up 12% year-on-year, and 220,000 members taking a combined print and digital product, up 9% year-on-year. This growth has been achieved whilst moving our premium digital members to price parity with our print membership.
Growth in total paid sales has also left both titles less dependent on advertising and consequently made revenues less volatile. For the 2014 financial year total paid sales represented 51% of TNL revenue compared with 44% coming from advertising.
The figures confirm that the “paid-for” strategy, pursued by News UK, is working well and is helping to secure a sustainable future for the news, sport, analysis and comment of the papers.
The acquisition of sports rights such as the offering of Premier League, Scottish Premier League, Premiership Rugby, cricket, Gaelic football and hurling has contributed to the success of both papers, as have substantial improvements to the online editions and apps, and a thriving membership proposition (Times +). News UK continues to enhance these offerings, including through the acquisition of the rights to show highlights of the Champions’ League beginning in Autumn 2015.
Since January, the success of Times+ saw more than 28,000 tickets sold to members for 150 events, and this year, for the first time, The Times and The Sunday Times jointly sponsored the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Our journalists hosted over 50 events across 10 days at the festival with 140,000 tickets sold.
John Witherow, Editor of The Times said:
For the last 230 years The Times has provided the highest quality journalism at a fair price, and that is why readers of all ages continue to read us every day. We have invested a huge amount of time and energy into putting the Times on a sustainable footing which is the best way to ensure we can continue to produce world-class journalism. Our agenda-setting reporting and writing and our award-winning commentators and columnists, complement a dynamic digital team dedicated to improving what we do wherever and whenever people choose to read us. The Times has a bright future.
Martin Ivens, Editor of The Sunday Times said:
It has been an incredible year for The Sunday Times with our journalism having a huge impact at home and abroad whilst subscriptions steadily grow.
Whether it’s great scoops like blowing the lid off FIFA’s World Cup bidding process, our Scottish referendum survey that panicked the politicians, or a new angle on the week’s stories, people turn to our team for the award-winning reporting and comment that challenge, provoke, entertain, inspire and inform them.
Mike Darcey, CEO, News UK said:
Our strategy of charging for our world-class journalism is working. Our approach has allowed us to invest in our titles and our people with confidence, creating an unbeatable experience for our readers and they have responded positively. We have pioneered digital subscriptions, created a solid customer base and continue to secure a sustainable future for our titles.
The figures were published in the Times Newspapers Limited accounts filed at Companies House yesterday, Monday 1st December, and presented to its board today.
The world-class journalism of both newspapers continues to be recognised and last week saw them picking up nine awards in a single day. Three were won at the Foreign Press Association Media Awards including ‘News Story of the Year’ for The Times reporter Anthony Loyd’s reporting on his kidnapping in Syria with colleague Jack Hill. These were in addition to the six collected at Editorial Intelligence’s Comment Awards where The Times won ‘Best Comment Pages’ and Dominic Lawson of The Sunday Times won ‘Columnist of Year’.