Time Inc misses revenue estimates, unveils new cost cuts

(Reuters) - Magazine publisher Time Inc TIME.N reported a lower-than-expected quarterly revenue on Tuesday and announced a fresh cost-cutting program.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump poses for photographer Nadav Kander for the cover of Time Magazine after being named its person of the year, in a picture provided by the publication in New York December 7, 2016. Time Magazine/Handout via REUTERS

Shares of the company, down about 23 percent this year, fell another 6 percent in morning trading.

The New York-based publisher of Sports Illustrated, People and namesake Time said it was targeting $400 million in spending cuts.

The effort follows other recent measures by Time to slash spending including its move to eliminate 4 percent of its workforce and to cut its dividend payout.

Time has struggled to boost magazine sales and advertising revenue as more people go online for news and entertainment and as advertisers shun the print medium for digital platforms such as Google and Facebook.

To lower its dependence on print, Time has tapped areas such as television programming, streaming video and events.

“We announced six new television projects and estimate to produce 40 hours of TV programming this year,” Time CEO Rich Battista said on a call with analysts.

Time last year launched an ad-supported streaming video website with celebrity, pop culture, and lifestyle content from its People and Entertainment Weekly brands.

The company’s magazine circulation revenue fell 12 percent in the second quarter ended June 30. Advertising revenue also dipped about 12 percent, driven by declines in both print and digital advertising.

“We believe our advertising revenues were negatively impacted by the public speculation about the ownership of the company and the trailing effect of the disruption from the reorganization of our advertising sales force,” the company said in a statement.

Time had come under pressure to explore a sale after activist hedge fund Jana Partners LLC unveiled a 5 percent stake in the company last August.

Battista told Reuters in April that Time was "definitely" not up for sale after reports that the company had been in talks with Meredith Corp MDP.N about a potential deal.

Any disruption to sales from speculation about a deal was largely over, Battista said on Tuesday.

The company’s total revenue fell 9.7 percent to $694 million, missing analysts’ average expectation of $703.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Time reported a loss of $44 million, or 44 cents per share in the second quarter, compared with a profit of $18 million, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 13 cents per share. Analysts had expected 11 cents.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar