Display ad revenue decline by 12.7% during 'challenging' 2012 for Johnston Press
Johnston Press has revealed a national display advertising revenue decline by 12.7 per cent n 2012 leading to an underlying pre-tax profit of £12,6 million during what both chairman and chief executive describes as a 'challenging' year for the company.
The local newspaper publisher revealed that while digital advertising revenue grew by 12 per cent over the year, helping it to an operating profit of £57 million, cost efficiencies of £37.6 million and the cancellation of the printing contract with News International costing £30 million, impacted heavily.
Print advertising drove revenue of £181.3 million for 2012, down on 2011's figure of £212.9 million, with total advertising down by just under £30 million on the previous year at £201.9 million.
Further efficiency savings are also forecast for the year ahead too.
The regional publishing websites saw its daily audience grow by 29.3 per cent and monthly audience figures by 21 per cent, the company has claimed, while circulation revenue for the relaunch of its local titles apparently led to a 7.9 per cent increase by December.
The impact to traditional advertising formats seems likely to continue, with the first 10 weeks of 2013 having seen the total advertising revenue down by 15.6 per cent on the same period last year, outside of motor advertising.
Ashley Highfield, CEO of Johnston Press, said: "Good progress has been made in the process of transforming the Group in 2012 and the changes made provide a strong platform for us to build on in 2013 as we invest in refreshing our print portfolio, and simultaneously move our operation to be real-time, digitally led, social, mobile and ever more local.
The economic environment remains challenging, but with the steps that we have taken to improve the effectiveness of the business, to accelerate the growth of our digital revenues, and to continue to manage our costs tightly, we believe that we are well positioned to deliver a strong operating performance in 2013 along with continued strong cash flow. The on-going development of our trusted local newspaper brands across print and digital remains key to us doing this, allied to the best use of both current and developing technology and the opportunities they can create for us."
The company's net debt fell from £351.7m at the end of 2011 to £319.4m last year however.