Nine's mastheads report first revenue growth in three years
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Nine's mastheads report first revenue growth in three years

Nine's metropolitan mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have recorded the first period of revenue growth in three years on the back of strong digital revenue and increased readership.

The free-to-air broadcaster reported solid results for the news titles in the first six months of the 2019 financial year after merging with newspaper publisher Fairfax Media in December, with notable growth in the publishing division.

Nine's results show growth for its newspaper titles after the merger with Fairfax Media last year.

Nine's results show growth for its newspaper titles after the merger with Fairfax Media last year.Credit:AAP

The broader digital and publishing arm reported revenue of $328 million and a 39 per cent increase in profit (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to $60 million. This included Metro Media mastheads like The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, catch-up app 9Now and titles like Pedestrian, CarAdvice and Nine.com.au.

The Metro Media titles saw a 4 per cent rise in revenue from $231.9 million in the first half of 2018 to $240.8 million over the most recent period, following three years of single-digit revenue falls.

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Driving this rise was a substantial increase in digital revenue and a 3 per cent cost improvement from $207 million to $201.3 million.

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Digital subscription and advertising revenue were up 14 per cent and 21 per cent respectively, while print circulation and subscription improved 1 per cent. Print advertising declined 1 per cent.

Nine recently launched a publicity campaign across the capital cities to encourage digital subscriptions for its major mastheads under the tagline "You deserve to know".

The metropolitan titles' earnings jumped 58 per cent to $39.5 million marking the fifth consecutive half of growth.

Fund manager Martin Currie Australia investment analyst Patrick Potts said the performance of the metropolitan newspapers was “one of the real positives”.

Martin Currie formerly owned Fairfax Media shares and is now a Nine shareholder.

“It seems that business has well and truly been restructured and is on a trajectory to grow," Mr Potts said.

“That was quite positive and reflects a lot of hard work done by the former Fairfax team," he said.

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