Fairfax Profits Tank 23%
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Australian media group Fairfax Media Ltd has reported a first half loss of $365 million, a 23% decline on the same period last year.

The company has also wriiten down the value of publications like the Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Age as consumers desert the publications for niche websites and online news sources.  

Chief Executive Officer Brian McCarthy,has said that advertising revenue from newspapers has declined significantly as both vendors and consumers move away from reading Fairfax media properties.

Fairfax has taken a $447.5 million loss on the value of its newspaper mastheads and licenses.

Sales at the publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Financial Review and Melbourne’s the Age newspaper rose 0.5 percent to A$1.44 billion with online growing by up to 12%.

Bloomberg reports “Cost containment and further cost-cutting initiatives will be key to the result,” Finola Burke and Belinda Tilbrook, analysts at Credit Suisse AG, wrote in a report dated Feb. 20. Sales “will come under pressure from a deteriorating advertising market,” they wrote.

Classified advertising is expected to remain weak for the rest of the fiscal year, Fairfax said today.

“We are focused on continuous operational improvement,” McCarthy said in the statement. “For now, we have battened down the hatches and we will ride this storm out.”