Northcliffe cuts 200-plus regional press jobs

Regional newspaper publisher Northcliffe Media cut more than 200 jobs in the first quarter of its financial year, it was revealed today.

A management statement covering the three months to 2 January issued by DMGT today revealed that revenue for Northcliffe dropped six per cent to £59m in the period. Circulation revenue was down three per cent year on year and advertising revenue down six per cent.

It revealed that publishing costs had been cut by six per cent year on year and said that headcount at Northcliffe had been cut by 8 per cent in the three months to January. This equates to more than 200 jobs.

Recruitment advertising revenue was said to be down 26 per cent year on year, public notices revenue down 13 per cent and property advertising revenue up 1.5 per cent.

Digital advterising revenue was said to be ‘marginally down’ at Northcliffe – with a 21 per cent fall in recruitment advertising revenue offset by ‘strong growth’in property, motors and services revenue.

Visitor numbers to the network of regional newspaper websites were said to up 28 per cent year on year. And DMGT revealed that since December last year 83 new Local-people ultra-local community websites had been launched by Northcliffe.

Northcliffe now runs 123 such sites in the South West of England, London and the South East.

DMGT chief executive Martin Morgan told reporters in a conference call that DMGT did not want to acquire any new local newspaper businesses.

He was quoted on saying: “As far as local papers are concerned we’ve been quite clear that we are not interested in putting fresh capital into that sector.”

And hinting DMGT was keen to sell its local titles, he said: “We are open to any worthwhile approaches concerning consolidation if they were to occur.”

Across DMGT overall revenue for the quarter rose three per cent year on year to £497m.

Last year Northcliffe Media recording operating profit up 24 per cent to £30m on revenue down 10 per cent year on year to £294m.

Between September 2009 and December 2010, a further 242 jobs were cut across Northcliffe.

Northcliffe is the UK’s fourth biggest regional press publisher with 123 titles and a combined weekly circulation of around six million.

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