APN News & Media, the Australian-based owner of the New Zealand Herald newspaper and The Radio Network, has reported an 11% rise in group net profit after tax in the six months to June 30 from a year ago.
It said the Australian market has returned to 2008 levels but is not back at 2007 levels, the peak of the last economic cycle.
APN reported a 14.6% rise in interim profit in its New Zealand media business in local currency terms and a 19.8% fall in profit in its New Zealand radio business.
The largest media company in New Zealand said the economic recovery in this country is under way.
APN said it has a clear multi-media strategy in each of its markets and it was now seeing strong growth.
The nzherald.co.nz website is highly profitable and has advertising revenues in excess of a million dollars a month, APN said.
It said it is continuing to review opportunities to charge for content.
Less than 50% of its revenue is from newspapers, whereas five years ago newspapers provided 80% of group revenue.
"We have demonstrated an ability to grow and broaden our revenue base," APN chief executive Brendan Hopkins said at a briefing.
He said the company was a great believer in newspapers.
The nzherald.co.nz website is read by one million people each week, with over 30% of its weekly audience accessing the site from outside New Zealand.
"We continue to review opportunities to charge for online content and this is especially relevant to new distribution channels such as the iPad and smartphones," he said.
"However, it is important to note that the nzherald.co.nz site is already highly profitable, with advertising revenues in excess of $1 million per month," he said.
"We think the second half will be a strong half for New Zealand," he said.
Mr Hopkins said the radio market in New Zealand was probably the toughest of all the company operated in.
The first half in the New Zealand radio market was flat but "national agency dollars" started to grow advertising revenue in June and July.
"We now believe the radio market is going to have a much better second half than first half," he said.
The company was also affected by the taking inhouse of a bus advertising contract by New Zealand Bus, owned by infrastructure investor Infratil.
NBR staff and NZPA
Wed, 18 Aug 2010