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December 2, 2014

After ‘colossal year’ for journalism, Times and Sunday Times make profit for first time since 2001

By William Turvill

  • Times Newspapers operating profit of £1.7m for year to 30 June
  • Up from £6m loss year before and £70m loss five years ago
  • Titles see 10 per cent cent year on year subscribers boost

The Times and Sunday Times have recorded their first operating profit – £1.7m for the year ending 30 June 2014 – since 2001, according to News UK.

The figure, which was released at a media briefing this morning, is up from a loss of nearly £6m last year and a loss of more than £70m five years ago.

The publisher also revealed that The Times now has 152,000 digital subscribers, up 8 per cent year on year from 141,000, and The Sunday Times 154,000 up 12 per cent year on year from 138,000.

Overall subscriptions across the Times titles increased by 10 per cent year on year to 390,000. This includes 170,000 digital subscribers, up 12 per cent year on year, and 220,000 taking print and digital, up 9 per cent year on year.

The publisher also claimed that total paid sales made up 51 per cent of Times Newspapers revenue, above the 44 per cent made from advertising.

The Times‘s latest print circulation ABC showed a 1 per cent year-on-year circulation rise to 393,000, and The Sunday Times saw its circulation decrease year on year by 4 per cent to 804,000.

The Times’s print circulation includes 22,296 bulk copies, up from 20,823 last October. And The Sunday Times’s includes 11,528 bulks compared with 11,379 last year.

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Chris Duncan, News UK’s chief marketing officer, described this increase as “negligable” and said it was important to note that there are two “classes” of bulks.

He said that while there is little money earned through copies distributed for free, in airports for instance, more is made from bulk distribution among brands such as British Airways, East Coast Mainline and luxury hotels.

He said: “There’s a second class where you say I recognise that there is a discount that you’re prepared to offer for volume but I still want to be profitable and sustainable at the volume that we’re providing, and there’s quite a big difference between those prices.”

Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens praised his journalists and described 2014 as a “colossal year” for the Insight Team, citing in particular its FIFA investigation. 

Emma Tucker, The Times’s deputy (and currently acting) editor, praised Andrew Norfolk for his Rotherham investigation and Anthony Loyd’s dramatic coverage from Aleppo.

She said that the titles’ Red Box daily political email, which launched in August, so far has around 28,500 subscribers.

News UK chief executive Mike Darcey said in a statement: “Our strategy of charging for our world-class journalism is working. Our approach has allowed us to invest in our titles and our people with confidence, creating an unbeatable experience for our readers and they have responded positively. We have pioneered digital subscriptions, created a solid customer base and continue to secure a sustainable future for our titles.”

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