LONDON: London’s Evening Standard on Tuesday reported a loss of £14 million ($16.61 million) for the last year, taking its total tally of losses to nearly £70 million within the past five years.
Despite major cost-cutting, the daily newspaper, which relies on advertising for 90 percent of its revenue, is still reeling from the pandemic as commuter numbers remain well below pre-2020 levels.
“The coronavirus pandemic continued to cause an industry-wide reduction in advertising revenue which, when combined with fewer people traveling by public transport in Greater London and a lack of future visibility, resulted in a number of challenges across the sector,” the company said. “Challenges on print revenues required the company to be diligent on costs.”
Owned by the Russian-British businessman Evgeny Lebedev, the free London-based newspaper has undergone major internal restructuring in the last two years, with the former editor Emily Sheffield resigning after just 15 months.
Sheffield, the sister-in-law of former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, took over from the former UK Chancellor George Osborne in June 2020.
The company also reduced staff numbers by more than a quarter, bringing down its annual loss from the £17 million recorded in 2020.
In 2017-18, Lebedev, who also owns stakes in The Independent newspaper, sold a third of the Evening Standard to an unknown Cayman Islands company.
The newspaper industry suffered huge losses because of the pandemic, given the decrease in ad revenues, furloughed employees, and economic slowdowns.
In November 2020, the UK reported that national print newspaper sales had fallen by over 30 percent since a government-ordered lockdown started in March that year.
In other parts of the world, readership of newspapers fell by 60 percent, and revenue dropped by as much as 80 percent.