City round-up

Johnston Press has warned ‘a widespread state
of flux’will lead to further consolidation in
the regional newspaper industry.
In its preliminary results for 2006 the newspaper
publisher said its acquisition of The
Scotsman and cost savings of £13.9m had
helped the group boost revenue and operating
profit in 2006.
Despite falling advertising revenue, turnover
at the group was up 16 per cent year on year to
£602.2m, with operating profit up 4 per cent to
£188.8m.
The publisher – which runs more than 300
local websites on top of its 18 daily papers and
291 weeklies – has seen digital revenue
increase by 36 per cent year on year to £11.3m.
Johnston said the number of unique visitors
to its websites was up by 63 per cent, with an
estimated monthly audience of 6.6 million.
Advertising revenue was down some 3 per
cent, with recruitment the worst affected, in
part due to a reduction in local government
spending on job adverts.
Regional newspaper group Archant has reported
a drop in operating profit – down 6.8 per cent
year on year to £29.5 million.
Chairman Richard Jewson said: ‘Structural
change in the regional press industry continues.
‘Media fragmentation is also continuing
within the industry, and we have sought to
benefit from this by building on the audiences
loyal to our titles by increasing our online presence.
‘The results of this continuing programme
of investment are encouraging – we are growing
revenue and unique visitors to our sites
have risen by 66 per cent over the year, with
nearly 1.2 million unique visitors in January
2007.
‘We expect conditions to remain challenging
in 2007, with advertising demand likely to
remain flat and costs, including salaries and
newsprint, continuing to rise.
‘We remain confident in the strength of our
titles and the skills and commitment of our
staff and we are determined to restore the
group’s record of growth as conditions
improve.”
Trinity Mirror has announced it made cost
savings of £20 million last year and has earmarked
a further £20 million that it hopes to
save by the end of this year.
The 2006 results show revenue at the publishing
group has fallen by 4.8 per cent year on
year to £1.032bn – a drop blamed on difficult
advertising conditions. Profits in 2006 fell by
13.8 per cent to £185.4 million.
Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey
said: ‘We have reduced costs significantly in
response to the industry-wide decline in advertising.”
But the board said it was confident that conditions
would improve in 2007. The group last
year had set a target of £15 million in cost savings,
and managed to exceed the target and
save £20 million. In an update to the City,
Trinity said it believed it could save an extra
£20 million by next year.
Bailey added: ‘We witnessed an encouraging
finish to 2006. Although the current environment
remains challenging and volatile, we
continue to expect conditions to stabilise during
the year with the rate of decline slowing.”

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