Johnston Press print advertising falls 17 per cent

Johnston Press has become the latest media group to report a double-digit slump in print advertising revenues – down 17.4 per cent so far this year.

The regional newspaper publisher said in a trading statement this morning that the performance of its titles had deteroriated since it last updated the City in August.

Overall advertising revenue fell 15.5 per cent year on year in the 44 weeks to the end of October – with print down 17.4 per cent but digital growing by 36.8 per cent. Revenue from newspaper sales was also slightly down on last year.

In the four months from the beginning of July to end of October, revenue from property advertising almost halved – falling 48.4 per cent.

Job advertising was down 32.1 per cent, motors 24.3 per cent and display ads 12.1 per cent year on year on a like-for-like basis.

Johnston Press said the worsening performance was the result of “both the credit crunch and a reduction in economic activity as both [the UK and Ireland] encountered recessionary pressures”.

The publisher did, however, see a 5.3 per cent increase in revenue from its contract printing work. The group has a deal to print News International‘s titles – the Sun, Times, News of the World and Sunday Times – at its Portsmouth plant.

Johnston Press said it had saved £7.6m in costs in the first half of this year and was looking to make further “significant savings”.

The group closed its Northampton printing plant in September with the loss of more than 60 jobs and said “redundancy and reorganisation costs” would be in the region of £7m.

“Given the challenging and deteriorating economic and operating environment, the group is concentrating on managing its cost base and reducing its debt levels, but would still expect to deliver an operating profit for the full year at the lower end of current market expectations,” the publisher added.

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