Murdoch's media empire stung by losses at The Sun and The Sun on Sunday

 
James Warrington
Follow James
A printer carries first edition Sun news
The firm said the decline in turnover was mainly due to the industry-wide decline in print newspaper circulation (Source: Getty)

Rupert Murdoch's media empire took a hit today as the publisher of The Sun and The Sun on Sunday saw losses widen last year amid a continued squeeze in the print market.


News Group Newspapers reported a pre-tax loss of £91.2m in the year to 1 July 2018, an increase from £24m the year before.

The publisher, which comes under the umbrella of Murdoch’s News UK organisation, also saw turnover slip from £424m to £401m as circulation fell eight per cent and nine per cent respectively for its daily and Sunday editions.

The firm said the decline in turnover was mainly due to the industry-wide fall in print newspaper circulation.

But total advertising revenue increased for the first time in seven years as the group looks to shift its focus to digital ads. The Sun’s website last year overtook Mail Online as the most-visited news site in the UK.


The Sun also recorded a one-off charge of £14.7m relating to lawsuits in the phone-hacking scandal.

The deepening losses come in stark contrast to fellow News UK publications The Times and The Sunday Times, which swung to profit in 2018.

The newspapers’ pre-tax profit hit £9.6m in the year to July, up from a £6.5m loss the year before, while turnover rose to £326m from £319m.

But the two publications are also feeling the pressure on traditional media, as the company revealed its digital subscribers have overtaken print subscribers for the first time.

In November the Daily Mail’s owner said it had made more from online advertising than print advertising for the first time in its history.