Profit boost for Archant but advertising dips again

Regional media group Archant today announced operating profit up £2m to £7m on turnover down 0.9 per cent to £70.1m for the year to 3 July.

But in a sign that regional newspapers are still finding the economic climate tough, it revealed that advertising revenue fell 4.1 per cent in its regional press business.

Archant claims to be the UK’s largest independently-owned media business. It is privately owned and publishes four daily newspapers, including the Eastern Daily Press, as well as 70 weekly titles.

In the newspaper and printing side of the business turnover dropped 1.6 per cent to £48.3m, but operating profit rose 47.5 per cent to £6.3m. Archant said that property was the only growing advertising category, up 9.3 per cent.

Archant publishes a network of specialist and local county-style magazines. In this part of the business revenue was static year on year at £22m, but operating profit was up 18.9 per cent to £1.6m. Archant revealed that magazine property advertising rose 30.4 per cent and subscription revenues were up 5.7 per cent.

Total digital revenues rose 25 per cent, Archant said.

Chairman Richard Jewson said: “Our management have continued to exploit the opportunities presented by the changing trading environment whilst reducing operating costs by 4.1 per cent, preserving cash and seeking new ways to develop our digital businesses.

“The spending cuts announced by the new government have already damaged business sentiment. We continue to pursue process efficiencies whilst seeking new revenue opportunities in print and online by developing new products and services to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

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