New data reveals 136 publishing insolvencies in a year

The number of publishing companies declaring insolvency has risen by almost 50 per cent in three months and looks set to keep growing, according to new research.

Accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers said 43 publishers hit the rocks in the first quarter of 2009, up 48.2 per cent from 29 in the previous quarter.

The rolling total for the year from April 2008 to March 2009 stands at 136, bringing the total number of publishing insolvencies in two years to 257.

Broadcasting insolvencies were narrowly down in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the previous three months, falling from 22 to 20.

But the rolling total for the year increased from 54 in 2007/08 to 80 this year.

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner David Lancefield said publishing was already an industry in decline before the economic slowdown but the severe cyclical advertising downturn had worsened the problem.

“Last year represented the advertising world’s Big Bang, as we saw a collision of severe economic downturn and structural change to online,” he said.

“In this world, grabbing and monetising consumer attention is harder than ever. The move towards Digital Britain could exacerbate this trend even further unless publishers can shift their focus to new operating models.”

Earlier this week, Press Gazette revealed that the number of journalists claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance had more than doubled in a year, up 150 per cent.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show 1,880 out-of-work journalists were claiming last month.

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