Profits boost for regional newspaper giant Archant

Archant chief executive john Fry has said that the notion of the regional and local newspaper sector being in decline could not be further from the truth after the company reported a 2.75 per cent increase in revenues in its interim results.

The increase of 2.75 per cent excludes acquisitions and disposals while operating profits are up 1.12 per cent.

In the 26 weeks to 30 June, overall revenue increased by 2.1 per cent to £98.5 m and total operating profit was up 8.6 per cent to £10m.

Fry said: ‘The challenge is greater than it has been but that doesn’t mean that the sector is fundamentally flawed”, he said. ‘Archant has put considerable strategic focus on changing our business to deal with changes in local market places.”

Archant has adopted a layered approach to publishing producing a number of products including newspapers, magazines and online classified advertising.

Recruitment advertising, one of the toughest markets in the sector, has shown ‘solid growth’at Archant helped by online revenues.

Fry added: ‘We have demonstrated that tight cost control, on the low growth areas of the business, allows you to invest in higher growth activities. Our web audiences are growing in excess of 50 per cent in a year. The advertising revenue we generate from those audiences is also growing. Our local magazine business is showing audience growth, revenue growth, and an increasing number of the titles delivering profits as they become established.”

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