McClatchy revenue falls 8 percent in fourth quarter

McClatchy reported an 8 percent drop in revenue in the fourth quarter as declines in print advertising, particularly among larger advertisers, continued to weigh on the newspaper publisher’s earnings.

McClatchy, owner of The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and 27 other newspapers, had revenue of $285.8 million in the fourth quarter. Advertising revenue totaled $77.8 million, down 11.9 percent compared with the same period in 2014.

Excluding certain items, net income was $17.3 million, compared with adjusted net income of $11 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.

McClatchy has been working to offset declines in print advertising by revamping its sales force to focus more on digital advertising and digital marketing services.

The Sacramento, Calif.-based company’s digital-only advertising revenue rose 14.3 percent in the fourth quarter. Digital-only subscribers to the company’s newspapers increased 11.3 percent to 79,300.

McClatchy also continues to implement cost-saving measures. The company’s cash expenses were down 9.4 percent in the fourth quarter, and cash expenses for all of 2015 declined nearly $58 million.

“We enter 2016 with momentum in digital revenues, a growing online audience and ongoing cost savings,” McClatchy CEO Pat Talamantes said in a statement.

For the full-year, McClatchy revenue fell 7 percent to $1.085 billion. Advertising revenue dropped 11.6 percent to $665.5 million. Those declines include the loss of revenue from the company’s sales of its stake in and

McClatchy repurchased 6.1 million of its shares in 2015 at an average price of $1.28 per share. The stock closed Wednesday at 89 cents, down 5 cents.