Sunday 9 February 2020 5:08 pm

Joe Media loss deepens as parent company starts layoffs

Digital publisher Joe Media has posted a widening loss in its latest full-year accounts, weeks after its parent company announced job cuts in a bid to turn around its ailing finances.

The news site, which also runs the popular House of Rugby podcast, reported a loss of £1.7m in 2018, compared to a £1.6m loss the previous year.

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Joe Media’s accounts, which were filed more than four months late, also showed it had incurred a loss in 2019, though the company said it was “budgeted to become profitable” this year.

At the end of 2018 the media firm, which was founded in 2010 by Niall McGarry, had total debt of £7.3m, up from £4.9m at the end of the previous year. 

Joe owed £6.4m to its Irish parent company Maximum Media, which was also founded by McGarry and owns women’s news site

It comes just weeks after Maximum announced it had laid off nine staff members after posting a €1m (£849,000) loss in 2018.

The Irish firm has been embroiled in a controversy over its use of a so-called click farm to artificially inflate listening numbers on one of its podcasts.

The row prompted Ireland’s largest media agency Core to pull advertising campaigns with Maximum, while boss McGarry stepped down from the Irish business.

Joe Media almost doubled its headcount from 27 to 49 between 2017 and 2018. The firm says it has no plans to reduce headcount in 2020.

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Joe, which is aimed at young men, has focused much of its content on sports, but has boosted its following in recent years with social media-friendly politics videos. The firm now pulls in roughly 2m visitors per month across its sites.

In its accounts Joe stated it was “confident that the measures being taken to improve working capital management and operating performance, in addition to support from the parent company and its group’s external funders will ensure the continued operation of the company for the foreseeable future”.