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Johnston Press

Johnston Press sees operating profit and digital revenue growth but still posts total revenue decline


By Stephen Lepitak, -

November 13, 2013 | 3 min read

Newspaper publisher Johnston Press has revealed a growth in operating profit of 7.8 per cent and digital revenue growth of 32.8 per cent, but has posted a decline in total revenue of 6.8 per cent and a similar decline in advertising revenue during its most recent quarter.

The company has released its figures for the 18 week period up to 2 November 2013, with advertising revenue down by 6.5 per cent, a smaller decline than the rate recorded during the first half of the year, at 13.6 per cent.

Operating margin grew by one fifth as Johnston Press continued to cut costs to the tune of £32.4m, while the Group's titles have been relaunched, with print circulation revenue still declining by 4.3 per cent.

Ashley Highfield, CEO of Johnston Press said he was "pleased" that the company's growth strategy was making "good progress".

He praised the company's largest publishing unit in the Midlands reaching a "digital tipping point" in local display first in September. When it saw its local digital revenue overtake the decline in local print revenue.

"Digital revenue growth remains a priority and the Midlands reaching a 'Tipping Point' in local display advertising is a highlight for the business. It remains a key goal for the whole Group to reach the point where digital growth will offset any further decline so we can return to overall top-line growth. With the refreshed print titles and websites, averaging monthly audiences of over 25 million, and new digital products and services, we believe that Johnston Press remains as relevant to local communities and advertisers, both local and national as it has ever been. We also continue to focus on reducing our cost base whilst increasing our investment in our digital future.”

In September Johnston Press relaunched its 296 websites, and saw monthly unique users grow to 13.7m, a growth of 39 per cent on the same time the previous year, while digital revenue during that month grew by 44.7 per cent.

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