Times newspaper losses reach £500m

Decade of losses more than wipes out profits

The group that owns The Times newspaper has lost more than £500m in the past decade, highlighting the challenge facing Rupert Murdoch as he seeks to reinvent his media empire.

Times Newspapers Limited, which operates The Times and The Sunday Times, reported a pre-tax loss of £24.4m for the year ending June 2013.

That extends a run of losses covering every year since 2002, triggered by falling circulation and advertising.

The losses total £505m before tax – more than wiping out the profits that Rupert Murdoch made after buying the newspapers in 1981.

The figures come amid continued difficulties at sister newspaper The Sun, which has been unable to replace the lost advertising and circulation of the News of the World, closed following allegations of phone-hacking.

John Witherow, The Times’s editor, warned staff earlier this year that News Corp, which owns both The Times and The Sun, would no longer subsidise newspaper losses.

It is thought the newspapers are aiming to be profitable within three years.

However, Times Newspapers Limited said it expected “the general level of activity to continue for the foreseeable future”.

“Advertising revenue decreased during the year driven by the decreasing national print advertising market whilst sales volume was broadly flat from the previous year,” the directors said in accounts filed at Companies House.

Although the decline of print advertising and sales has affected Mr Murdoch’s newspapers globally, Mr Murdoch said that the creation of the new News Corp earlier this year had given him “the chance to do it all over again”.

The Sunday Times is the best-selling quality Sunday newspaper in the UK, while the Times is the second best-selling quality daily, after the Daily Telegraph.

Mike Darcey, who runs the parent business News UK, has ruled out merging the operations of the Times and the Sunday Times, saying the move could jeopardise the latter’s distinctive identity and readership.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

More on this topic

Suggestions below based on Rupert Murdoch