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Reach recovery: digital advertising rises 42.7%, print falls another 5.2%

Digital ad revenue and subscriptions have driven Reach’s recovery

News publisher Reach appears to have emerged from the worst that coronavirus and the demise of print could throw at it after posting a strong digital performance and higher circulation figures in its half-year results.

Digital revenues now account for 23% of Reach’s revenues in the first half of 2021 – a hefty jump from the 15% proportion recorded in 2019.

Healthy revenues

  • Interim results for the 26 weeks to June 27 indicate that revenues rose 2.6%, with the lion’s share of growth accounted for by digital (up 42.7%) – even as print fell a further 5.2%.

  • Digital powered ahead to deliver £68.8m of revenue, with growth on a two-year basis up by 41.4%. By comparison, equivalent growth in the second half of 2020 was 39.8%.

  • Print revenues continue to deliver the bulk of revenue at £232.4m, but the secular decline continued apace, dropping a further 5.2%.

  • Circulation brought in £160m, down 5.1%, meaning that on a two-year basis print and circulation were down 23.9% and 16% respectively.

  • Revenues were bolstered by 6.7m new registrations, a 150% increase on a year ago, leaving Reach more confident than ever of hitting 10m registrations by 2022.

Reach renewal

  • Cash flows have been boosted by the successful roll-out of Reach ID and investment in data capabilities, which together support more targeted campaigns from advertisers.

  • Reach has also strengthened its bottom line with the commercialization of its suite of ‘plus’ products, subject to no less than 50 campaigns.

  • Reach has shifted the focus of its content toward wellbeing and culture to capture the current zeitgeist, and has implemented a new diversity and inclusion plan across the organization.

  • Chief operating officer Jim Mullen said: “Award-winning national and local journalism is delivering consistently higher audience engagement, supported by increased customer insight. As a result, we have been able to increase investment in journalism and the applied data technology that is key to us achieving our ambition of doubling digital growth over the medium term.”

An uncertain outlook

  • Success in the present is no guarantee of future returns, and that is certainly true in a world where macro-political and economic uncertainties abound.

  • Reach attests that it is ‘well-placed’ to ride out any further turbulence, anticipating that recent momentum will continue for the foreseeable future, notably an improvement in print circulation and digital revenues as the lockdown eases.

  • Stability is also provided by an increase in net cash to £54.7m, up from £42m at the end of last year, to cushion the impact of any downturn.

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