McClatchy revenue down 3.4 percent in 2013

McClatchy Co. revenue fell in the fourth quarter, as the company continued to struggle to offset declines in print advertising with revenue from its digital initiatives.

McClatchy, owner of The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and 28 other daily newspapers, reported Thursday net income of $12.5 million, or 14 cents a share, versus a net loss of $30 million, or 25 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of 2012.

But the company’s 2013 fourth quarter included 13 weeks, compared to 14 weeks during the fourth quarter in 2012. McClatchy said its adjusted net income in its most recent quarter was slightly ahead of the estimated 13-week results for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Total revenue in the most recent quarter were down 2.1 percent using that same estimate, and advertising revenue was down 6 percent to $238.8 million. For the year, McClatchy’s revenue was estimated to be down 3.4 percent, with advertising revenue down 3.4 percent.

Circulation revenue continues to be helped by McClatchy’s implementation of metered pay walls at its newspaper websites. The program added more than $8.8 million in revenue during the quarter and generated $31.4 million in revenue in 2013.

Digital-only revenue increased 15.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to a 13-week fourth quarter in 2012. CEO Pat Talamantes, in a statement, highlighted the nearly 20 percent growth in monthly unique visitors in the fourth quarter last year and 83 percent growth in mobile unique visitors as signs McClatchy’s digital efforts are working.

McClatchy shares closed Thursday at $4.64, up 34 cents. The stock hit a 52-week high of $5.18 on Jan. 23.