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Evening Standard reports losses

The Evening Standard this week filed its annual report and financial statement with Companies House, indicating a loss for 2021.

Evening Standard reports losses
Evening Standard: "Continued investment in our digital first strategy resulted in an increase in digital revenue of £815,000 or 13% from the prior year." Photograph: Evening Standard.

This report covers the 53 weeks ended 3 October 2021.

According to the Evening Standard, the company made an operating loss before interest and tax of £11,847,000 (2020 loss: £14,680,000) and it has net liabilities of £28,998,000 (2020: £16,226,000). Their report included the following statement:

The Evening Standard is a quality weekday newspaper that distributes for free throughout Greater London. The Company's primary source of revenue is advertising sales which represents over 90% of turnover. The year was significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic ("COVID-19"). As a result of this, turnover dropped to £28,067,000 (2020: £44,066,000), which was 36% lower than the previous year. Additionally, due to a decrease in turnover, our operating loss margin increased by 9% to 42% (2020: 33%).

The coronavirus pandemic continued to cause an industry wide reduction in advertising revenue which when combined with fewer people travelling by public transport in Greater London and a lack of future visibility resulted in a number of challenges across the sector. The Evening Standard continued to serve its audience at home with its Covid home delivery service although as the year progressed and commuter numbers recovered it has continued to adapt the mix of copy. Continued investment in our digital first strategy resulted in an increase in digital revenue of £815,000 or 13% from the prior year. Challenges on print revenues required the company to be diligent on costs and as a result the total costs of sales reduced by £11,037,000 or 32% from the prior year position through a reduction in the number and size of newspapers printed alongside a reduction in all discretionary spend.

In prior year, new shareholder loan agreements were entered into to extend the maturities of existing shareholder loans from 31 December 2025 to 31 December 2035 and an additional shareholder financing facility was agreed providing up to £20,000,000, of which £16,000,000 was drawn down as of 3 October 2021.

Outlook

Since summer of 2021, there has been consistent improvement in commuter numbers and the company has seen this translate into improved print revenue. The Evening Standard continues to place digital and mobile content development as the most significant initiative as the pandemic has accelerated changes in reader behaviour. Additionally, the business will launch a number of new live events using the power of our media to create new revenue streams. There will also be continued focus on improving the company's financial performance, cost control and development of new business.