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Johnston Press increases sales of i newspaper to nearly 300,000 following acquisition

The i newspaper has seen an increase in sales by 7 per cent in April to almost 300,000, a rise of almost 20,000 copies a day, following its acquisition and re-release under new Johnston Press ownership.

ESI Media owner Evgeny Lebedev, which operates the Independent and London Evening Standard, sold the i newspaper to Johnston Press for £24m in February. The newspaper reported average sales of 297,849 a day in April, according to its own unaudited figures.

The title’s circulation was previously about 278,363 copies per day. It means Johnston Press has added more than 19,000 copies to its circulation a day in April.

Johnston Press also revealed that the new website for i, which launched on 14 April, has attracted 638,000 unique users in its first month. While Johnston Press’ digital revenues were down 5.7% in the first quarter, April saw a 4.5% rise, likely boosted by the launch of i online.

The i newspaper launched in Northern Ireland on 9 May, marking the media group’s first regional expansion of the paper following its acquisition.

The first standalone issue under its ownership was published in England on 11 April, with the new site inews.co.uk going live shortly after.

Johnston Press said that advertising revenues were down by 16.9 per cent in the period from 3 January to 30 April, an improvement from the 17.9 per cent decline in the first quarter. Figures for April show this figure to slow to 13.2 per cent.

The company said in a statement: “Johnston Press remains focused on increasing audiences, providing creative solutions for our advertisers, further cost reduction and integration and growth within the i. At this point, the board expects performance for the full year to be within the range of market expectation.”

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