Johnston Press has reported a marginal uplift in digital revenue of 0.2% for the first quarter in its latest set of unaudited results ahead of next week’s AGM.
The publishing giant relied almost entirely on the i to deliver this growth however, with total revenues actually declining by 12% when its performance was excluded – illustrating just how poorly Johnston’s regional titles are presently performing.
Digital advertising revenues rose by 10%, when excluding classifieds, but rose by just 3% when revenues from classified ads were included. This was helped by an 11% uplift in digital audiences to 26m with average page views increasing 17%.
In a statement the publisher vowed to double down on cutbacks, indicating further pain ahead for long-suffering regional titles within the group.
It said: “The Board notes that trading conditions for regional newspapers in the UK remain challenging and, while encouraged by improving trends across the Group, the management team continues to take actions to manage its costs tightly.”
Johnston Press slumped to a £300m full-year pre-tax loss in 2016 as a cost-cutting drive failed to deliver sufficient savings to offset a decline in advertising revenue.