The Evening Standard newspaper lost £11.6m last year despite strong readership growth in Britain and across the globe, new figures show.
The free London newspaper, edited by former chancellor George Osborne, narrowed its losses in the year to September 2018 when compared to the previous year.
The paper cut its operating losses by 5% after losing £11.8m in 2017, accounts filed by Evening Standard Limited with Companies House show. Group turnover increased by 2% to £65m, despite a “tightening market” in traditional print and classified advertising.
The slight narrowing of losses came despite rising print costs and was helped by a 29% rise in digital revenue.
The Evening Standard’s website and associated Homes & Property website saw a 22% rise in page views overall, with visitor numbers up 21% in the UK and 48% globally.
Like many others, the newspaper has struggled with the shift of advertising away from print and towards online. But the Standard said its display advertising revenues had increased and said it has a “growing share of the quality print advertising market.”
The accounts show no dividends were paid in either 2017 or 2018. The accounts, filed with Companies House, also show the Evening Standard raised £10m by issuing new shares in the year.
The figures come as the newspaper awaits a government decision on whether to probe concerns over a new investor and his reported “strong links to the Saudi Arabian state.”
A 30% stake in the parent company of the Evening Standard and the Independent newspapers was sold to a mystery investor through the Cayman Islands earlier this year, according to the Guardian.
Culture secretary Jeremy Wright said he was considering ordering regulators to investigate the sale on public interest grounds amid fears over its influence on the newspapers’ editorial agendas.