(Adds details about digital, advertising revenue, Domain group)
Feb 21 (Reuters) - Australia’s biggest newspaper publisher Fairfax Media Ltd said underlying first-half net profit fell 10 percent as a pickup in digital earnings, particularly from its spinoff Domain, failed to offset a downturn in advertising revenue.
Net profit was A$76.3 million ($60.13 million) for the six months to Dec. 31, the company said on Wednesday, compared with a net profit of A$84.7 million a year ago.
The publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review and other mastheads declared a dividend of 1.1 cents per share, compared to 2 cents from a year ago.
Domain Holdings, in which Fairfax holds a 60 percent stake following the spin-off, reported a rise in revenue in its first months as a standalone company.
Domain’s digital revenue rose 22 percent, the company said.
However, revenue from Fairfax’s Australian Metro Media division, which includes its biggest newspaper titles, fell 9 percent while publishing advertising revenue declined 15 percent.
Like many newspaper companies around the world, Fairfax has experienced a sharp decline in advertising revenue as readers opt for cheaper online content, while advertisers also focus their spending on global internet platforms such as Facebook and Google.
$1 = 1.2689 Australian dollars Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Byron Kaye and Diane Craft