Johnston Press reports £300m pre-tax loss


Johnston Press has reported a pre-tax loss of £300 million for 2016, compared to a profit of £2.2 million in 2015.

According to its 2016 financial results, Johnston Press’ total advertising revenue fell by almost 18% to £122.6m, driven by a 9.5% fall in print ad revenue. The fall in print advertising income was not offset by digital ad revenue, which remained at £18.6m.

Johnston Press cited the ‘clear impact’ of Brexit on advertising in June 2016, which continued into the third quarter of the year. This was particularly marked in the jobs, SME and property sectors. In addition the firm said the weakness of Sterling had led to increases in the costs of imported paper and ink.

However, it said there had been signs of improving economic confidence among SMEs in late 2016 and early 2017.

Ashley Highfield, Johnston Press CEO, said: “Despite an industry-wide backdrop of significant downward pressure on revenues, the actions we have taken to pilot the business through this rapidly-changing market and create the conditions from which to create growth are starting to bear fruit:  circulation figures of key titles are improving, the i has bucked the trend of declining national newspaper sales and our progressive editorial and sales models are starting to transform our regional businesses.

“While we can expect to see continued pressure on traditional print revenue streams, we have seen digital return to growth in Q1 2017, with better margin products, and will see growth from our investment in the i from both the newspaper and website. Further, we will start to see the benefits of our restructured sales teams and product roll out.

“Amid ever growing concerns from advertisers, both big and small, about the placement of their brand alongside unacceptable content, and increasing uncertainty around fake news, we believe our strategic focus on providing readers and advertisers alike with news platforms that serve as a trusted source of truth and insight, put together by teams of professional reporters who know their communities, is becoming an ever more important USP. By combining digital innovation with real news value, we will continue to see further growth in monetisable audiences.”

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

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Johnston Press reports £300m pre-tax loss