Postmedia’s revenue grows in Q4, but ends year in a loss

The results led CEO Andrew MacLeod to once again call on the government to deliver on its promise to regulate "global digital giants."

Postmedia seems to be on the path to recovery, but comparisons to previous years show the company is still well behind where it was pre-pandemic, leading to further calls to regulate the likes of Facebook and Google.

Revenue for the quarter ending Aug. 31 was $107.7 million, an increase of 2.4% compared to the same quarter last year.

Total digital revenue grew by 34.2%, with digital advertising revenue more specifically up 38.4%, partially offset by a 2.0% decrease in print ads. Print circulation dropped by 9.2% year-over-year.

Postmedia pointed out that this represents its fourth consecutive quarter of improvement and the second quarter posting ad revenue growth compared to the year prior. However, compared to 2019, print advertising revenue has dropped by 39.7%, circulation by 18.5% and total digital revenue by 11.8%.

And despite the recent improvements, total revenue for the fiscal year was $442.3 million, which is a 13% decline from 2020 and a 28.6% decline from 2019. Print advertising revenue has declined 20.6% year-over-year, print circulation is down 10.0% and digital revenue is down 4.7%, with digital advertising revenue down 8.0%.

Andrew MacLeod, Postmedia’s CEO, pointed to this quarter’s digital ad growth as reason for optimism about economic recovery, but said “systemic industry challenges” the industry faces due to the share of advertising revenue taken in by “global digital giants” (i.e. Facebook and Google) remained. He further called on the government to deliver on its election promise to address these challenges with a legislative solution.

The company also emphasized its ongoing efforts to cut costs, though operating costs increased by 2.5% year-over-year. The increase was attributed to the result of increased compensation expenses due to the receiving less from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, as well as production costs related to the increase in digital advertising revenue.