Fairfax profits are up! No, wait, theyr’e down! Well, it depends how you count the numbers. Plus other media tidbits of the day.
Choose your own adventure with Fairfax. TheSydney Morning Herald will tell you that Fairfax posted a “jump in profit this morning”, while The Australian insists Fairfax Media’s earnings have halved. Which is it? Well, both. It depends on whether you’re looking at statutory or underlying profits.
Underlying profits — which rose 12% for Fairfax in the half year to December 2013, are profits where one-off charges and infrequent events are stripped out, while statutory profits are simply what’s left after you take your costs out of your revenues. If you go by underlying profit, Fairfax had a great half — it’s profits are up for the first time since 2010. Statutory profits aren’t quite as rosy. The net profit figure was down almost 50% — $194 million this most recent half, compared to $386 million a year ago. Mind you, in December 2012, Fairfax sold Trade Me for a hefty profit, leading to its statutory profit being quite high that year. News Corp’s report has compared the statutory figure last year to this year.
All up, the result’s not a bad one for Fairfax. Its cost-cutting Fairfax of the Future plan is now delivering cost savings of $260 million a year, and it’s not done yet. “We continue to identify further opportunity for operational cost savings,” chief Greg Hywood said. The result’s certainly been welcomed by the market — at 10.50am shares were up 25.9% to 90 cents. — Myriam Robin
Mitchell has a few words for ‘bum’ Stutchbury. The war of words between Oz editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell and his Fin counterpart Michael Stutchbury continues. In today’s Strewth column, Mitchell leaves columnist James Jeffrey in no doubt as to his views on his former colleague. “Michael says in Crikey that [Fin writer Neil] Chenoweth’s was a legitimate story. It most certainly was not and if Michael does not understand why then he is a bum. At best Chenoweth’s yarn should have been a straight news story. At worst a sly, smarmy tweet,” Mitchell says, before taking a shot at Fairfax’s motto. “Independent always? No, undergraduate and stupid always.” Jeffrey assures readers Mitchell took no joy in saying this.
Front Page of the Day: Protests worsened in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev yesterday. The Guardian has a shocking splash …