SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The McClatchy Co. said Thursday that its first-quarter loss widened, as the newspaper publisher paid off part of its debt ahead of schedule and advertising revenue declined.
McClatchy lost $12.7 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with a loss of $2.1 million, or 2 cents per share, during the same period a year ago. In the most recent quarter, McClatchy booked an after-tax loss of $8.1 million as part of a refinancing that repaid nearly $84 million in debt. McClatchy ended the quarter with debt of $1.57 billion, compared with $1.71 billion at the end of last year.
Revenue fell 4 percent to $277 million, from $288 million. That was modest progress from the first quarter of 2012, when revenue decreased 5 percent from the prior year.
McClatchy, which publishes The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, The Miami Herald and 28 other daily newspapers, is trying to bring in more money from digital products by requiring paid subscriptions to previously free websites. That started last September and helped boost circulation revenue in the first quarter to $67.5 million, an increase of nearly 2 percent from a year earlier. McClatchy ended the quarter with 22,000 digital-only subscribers.
But McClatchy is still being hurt as advertisers curtail their spending on print. The company's print advertising revenue fell by 8 percent, or $13.3 million, to $150 million, while digital advertising revenue increased by less than 2 percent, or $705,000, to $47 million.