Telegraph profits halved as revenues fell by £17.5m last year but digital subscriber numbers grew by nearly a third

The Telegraph’s revenues fell by £17.5m last year to £285.7m, which it put down to “evolving consumer habits”, while the news group’s pre-tax profits nearly halved to £13.7m.

It did see growth in its digital subscription revenue, however, which was up by nearly a third (30 per cent) year-on-year.

The Telegraph claims to have more than 2.5m registered customers, but it has not shared how many of these are paying to access premium content through its partial paywall.

Since November 2016, readers have been able to register to access one premium article a week free of charge. A large number of Telegraph stories are free-to-access online.

The group has said it is aiming to reach 3m registered customers by the end of 2018 but has an ultimate vision of reaching 10m.

It anticipated revenue would stabilise in 2018/19 “with profit to follow”. Achieving sustainable growth is also an aim.

The Telegraph’s earnings (before tax, interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for 2017 were £30.3m, down from £41.2m on the year before.

Print advertising and circulation revenues fell by 9 per cent year-on-year. Its revenues from events fell by 3 per cent year-on-year.

But, revenue from travel commerce saw huge growth, up by 59 per cent year-on-year.

The Telegraph invested £10m in a new vision “putting a renewed
focus on the role of quality journalism at the heart of The Telegraph” last year.

Nick Hugh, Telegraph Media Group chief executive, said: “Since September, we have begun the first phase of long-term investment in quality journalism.

“The core of what we offer – reporting, commentary, world-class journalism – continues to set The Telegraph apart from other publications.

“[This year] is a turning point for our business. In January, we set out our vision to reach 3m registered customers by the end of 2018 and we have already passed 2.5m.

“Our digital revenues will continue to get stronger and stronger and as we continue to invest in and focus on quality journalism, we anticipate this momentum continuing.”

Despite making a number of redundancies in 2017, the Telegraph claims to have created a net of 39 new journalist roles.

It expanded its technology coverage in March with the aim of becoming the leading UK publisher of technology journalism, creating 12 new jobs.

The Telegraph said: “All of our current investments are planned to deliver sustainable growth and scale in the long-term, including in digital advertising where we are building a team better equipped to compete in a market which has changed fundamentally over the past few years.

“We are already seeing some of these investments pay off, such as in digital subscriptions, which has seen revenue grow 30 per cent year-on-year, and travel commerce, where revenue has grown 59 per cent on a like-for-like basis year-on-year.

“This provides strong confidence that we continue to make good progress against our core strategic priorities.”

Read the full financial report.

Picture: Eddie Mulholland/Telegraph

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