Johnston Press’ ad revenues feel effects of recession

Johnston Press has today reported half-year revenues of £218.6 million – down 25.4 per cent year-on-year.

Print advertising revenue fell by 33.5 per cent; while digital advertising revenues also declined – by 18.8 per cent.

The publisher’s revenue from employment advertising was down by 53.8 per cent, property ads by 54.2 per cent, motors by 29.3 per cent and from other classifieds by 11.5 per cent.

The company’s interim report said ad revenues were down 32.7 per cent in the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.

In an attempt to improve their digital recruitment sites and therefore their appeal to recruitment advertisers, Johnston Press has entered into a joint venture with Daily Mail & General Trust, giving them access to the latter’s Jobsite software.

The report also expresses the group’s struggle ‘to compete with the regional activities of the publicly funded BBC digital presence’, claiming that it ‘distorts the markets within which they operate through making the charging for news content extremely difficult’.

“The timing of the economic upturn remains uncertain but advertising revenues are demonstrating greater stability
and we expect the cyclical improvement when it comes to more than compensate any structural change. We will
maintain our focus on costs and look to secure operating efficiencies during the second half of the year,” said CEO John Fry in the report.

Yesterday the publisher celebrated success after it was announced that it had attracted the most unique users, to its network of regional newspaper websites, in the first six months of 2009.

The publisher, which is responsible for more than 323 websites, recorded 6,864,820 monthly unique users on average over the period, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s six-monthly report for regional newspaper groups.

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