Archant chief executive reveals plans to launch new print and digital titles this year

This year will be “as much about print as digital launches” at Archant, according to the chief executive of the regional media publisher which has revealed operating profits up 20 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

The Norwich-based newspaper and magazine publisher, whose titles also include the Barking and Dagenham Post, posted operating profits lifting from £8 million to £9.6 million in 2015.

It was helped by raising the cover prices of some of its titles which helped offset declining circulations.

There was no pre-tax profit figure in the results seen by Press Gazette.

Revenue fell 1.9 per cent to £126.6m over the year, but Archant pointed out that this was its best performance since 2007, as it battles to combat falling print advertising revenues.

Chief executive Jeff Henry, who was appointed in 2014, said: “The company now has clear focus. 2015 was about making the core of our business robust. 2016 is about us taking the next step, engaging and bringing out new products.

“These [new products] will be as much about print as digital.”

While Henry wouldn’t put a finger on the number of print launches from Archant in 2016, he pointed to the example of its new quarterly global luxury property title, International Prime Properties, due to launch next month, as an example of its investment in print.

He said the print launches could be supplements or stand alone titles.

Henry also said that further cover prices rises could be in store in 2016.

“Where relevant, we will consider cover price rises, were not we won’t,” he said.

Archant also offered an update on its on-going tax issue dispute with the tax man.

Archant has been locked in dispute with HMRC since December 2012 over unpaid taxes, which had led the company to suspend its dividend payment.

Henry said that Archant “wanted to clear the decks” and that HMRC was to blame for delaying its resolution.

He said:  “It’s a long drawn out process. I think from everybody’s point of view, I think we want to get this resolved, we are pushing to get this resolved.”

 

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