Fairfax shares have hit a two-month high despite a further decline in newspaper revenues.
Overall revenue dipped one per cent in the first 17 weeks of the second half of the financial year, dragged down by a two per cent fall in the media company’s metropolitan papers, which include The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review.
Regional papers revenue declined nine per cent while revenue at the company’s rebranded New Zealand business, Stuff, dropped eight per cent.
But Fairfax’s real estate spinoff Domain, which listed as a separate company on the Australian Securities Exchange in November, posted revenue growth of 13 per cent.
Revenue for radio broadcaster Macquarie Media, which is 54.5 per cent-owned by Fairfax, rose about four per cent.
Despite the overall decline in revenue, Fairfax shares gained four cents, or 5.6 per cent, to 75 cents.
Chief executive Greg Hywood said newspaper industry advertising revenue as a percentage of total Australian advertising has shrunk from 23 per cent to just eight per cent between 2012 and 2018.
He said the publisher is now entering a new phase following years of “big decisions” around costs in light of that industry disruption.
“Setting ourselves on the path of originating commercially-viable new media has proven correct,” Mr Hywood said.
“We are achieving our goal of sustaining independent journalism’s public good, while at the same time delivering shareholder value creation.”