Northcliffe Media cuts headcount by five per cent

Regional newspaper publisher Northcliffe Media has cut its staff by five per cent this year, according to parent company Daily Mail and General Trust.

In a trading update this morning, DMGT said it had cut the cost of running its regional newspapers by £45m since last September.

Advertising conditions in the regional press are “slowly improving”, the company said, with like-for-like regional advertising revenue in the past 12 weeks up 2.4 per cent on the same period last year.

But the group is expected to announce a one per cent decline in regional ad revenue over the course of the year when it announces its end of year results in November.

The strongest performers at Northcliffe were job advertising – up 5.8 per cent since April – and property advertising, which has seen a 7.9 per cent rise in the past 11 months.

“We are to date seeing no slow down in consumer advertising arising from higher UK interest rates, though we are wary about the impact of these rises on advertising generally and additionally of home information packs on property advertising,” DMGT said today.

“There has been minimal discernible impact to date on any of our businesses from the turmoil in the credit markets, although we will of course be watching this as we enter our new financial year.”

Motor and retail advertising were the worst-hit – down 10.7 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively since last September.

Northcliffe’s digital revenues were up 74 per cent year on year, while circulation revenue for the 11 months to August 2007 was 1.2 per cent lower than the same period last year.

DMGT’s national division, Associated Newspapers – which publishes the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday – saw circulation revenues increase 1.5 per cent between September last year and August 2007.

Print advertising revenues at Associated were up two per cent – with gains in display advertising cancelling out a slump in classified revenue. Associated Northcliffe Digital enjoyed a 78 per cent boost in revenue.

DMGT plans to announce its preliminary results for the year on 21 November.

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