Further consolidation in the regional newspaper industry is “an inevitability”, according to a new report by media analysis firm Enders published today.
The study said the sector was being “left behind” as advertisers started returning to television and the largest national newspapers.
“Inevitably, sector consolidation would provide the greatest platform to systematically deliver cost synergies across the industry,” the report said.
Enders Analysis predicted “even fewer massive corporate entities, perhaps as a few as one or two within a few years”, and a “long tail of small players”.
The report found that the regional press continued to suffer declines in recruitment, motoring and retail advertising and the largest businesses have suffered a 20 per cent decline in annual profits since 2006.
Profits generally showed some signs of recovery in 2010, according to Enders, due to strict cost control measures.
The report added that digital and other revenues remained “stubbornly low” despite publishers’ attempts to branch out into other brand extensions.