Wednesday 26 June 2019 12:57 pm

Evening Standard posts £11.6m loss as it battles with advertising squeeze

The Evening Standard has reported a loss of almost £12m as it battles rising costs and a squeeze on revenue from print advertising.

The daily London newspaper posted a pre-tax loss of £11.6m in the year to the end of September, marking its second consecutive year in the red. However, the figure represents a slight narrowing on the £11.8m loss posted in 2017.

Read more: Independent and Evening Standard could face probe over Saudi stakes

Revenue increased by two per cent to £65m, which the firm said came despite “tightening markets” for print display and classified ads, while operating losses narrowed by five per cent.

Earlier this year the Evening Standard announced a string of job cuts following the decision to merge its print and online businesses.

Editor George Osborne said the move would help the firm avoid “unnecessary duplication” and slash costs.

The newspaper, which has a circulation of just under 860,000, has been looking to shift its focus to digital in a bid to counteract the strain on print advertising and a rise in newsprint prices.

The company said its page views have increased more than 20 per cent year-on-year, driving a 29 per cent growth in digital revenue, adding it would look to expand its portfolio of live events.

The losses come as billionaire owner Evgeny Lebedev faces scrutiny over the sale of a major stake in the Evening Standard to a mysterious Saudi investor.

Read more: Evening Standard set to cut jobs as it mergers print and online business

Sultan Mohamed Abuljadayel has bought major stakes in both the Evening Standard and the Independent, which is also owned by Lebedev, sparking public interest concerns.

Culture secretary Jeremy Wright has said he is considering an investigation into the deals amid fears they could compromise freedom of expression and the accurate presentation of news.