Archant loses £7.6m before tax as advertising and circulation revenues fall

Archant, publisher of the The New European and Eastern Daily Press titles, made a pre-tax loss of £7.6m last year, new full-year accounts show.

Group revenue for 2018 was down 9.6 per cent to £87.3m. Advertising revenue, which makes made up the majority, fell by 10.8 per cent to £64.2m.

Newspaper circulation revenue fell 6.6 per cent to £16.4m while magazine circulation revenue fell 4.4 per cent to £6.6m.

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But digital revenues were up 13.2 per cent to £9.3m, of which £2m was from classified ads and the rest from display and other.

Archant made a pre-tax loss of £334,000 in 2017.

In a statement in its 2018 annual report, published today, Archant said it “continues to operate in an increasingly fragmented media landscape”.

The company said it is focused on “driving and monitoring the transition of leveraging local and regional audiences via online media in light of the continuing decline in print”.

The group reported 8.5m monthly unique visitors on average for its websites in 2018, down by 200,000 on the year before, with average monthly page views up 600,000 to 34.4m for the year.

Archant reduced its operating costs by 8.6 per cent to £84.6m over the period, with employment and production cost savings at similar levels.

Operating profit before exceptional items was down 32.9 per cent to £2.7m for the year “as revenues fell more than cost savings”, the company said.

Over the year, Archant published more than 50,000 daily newspaper copies, more than 740,000 weekly newspaper copies and more than 590,000 monthly magazine copies.

Press Gazette reported last month that Archant will stop printing newspapers at its £40m print facility just outside Norwich, where its headquarters (pictured) are based, putting 96 jobs at risk.

The company’s chief executive, Jeff Henry, has also stood down.

Archant chief content officer Matt Kelly announced last month that he was stepping down as editor of The New European and will head up a Google-funded project at the publisher to find a way to make local news pay online.

Read the full 2018 Archant accounts.

Picture: Google Maps

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Comments

7 thoughts on “Archant loses £7.6m before tax as advertising and circulation revenues fall”

  1. It’s all about managing decline at Archant, I know because I’m right amongst it going on all around me, working with demoralised colleagues being managed by people with little knowledge of the local markets and communities.
    The farcical thing is that while pennies are pinched here, savings are rolled out there and jobs are cut all over the place the ones who have overseen and are responsible for this shocking decline are still in the same positions they have been in for 6-7 years which beggars the question many here are asking:Just how bad do things have to get before those at the top do something about changing the high and middle level managers?
    My view is the board are content to go along with the bull bluff blunder and smoke and mirrors they’re being given by those with the most to lose that they accept underperformance and incompetence as easier than making tough decisions and removing incompetent and over promoted managers and editors then bringing in people who the staff would respect and who are capable of stabilising the ship, motivating the staff and moving the company forward.
    Some of these individuals have been with the company for far too long, decades in many cases,in managerial and senior editorial positions and are clearly incapable of doing their jobs, covering their failings by passing the buck and moving sideways with every change of regime.
    Many of these people openly admit to other managers that they’re hanging on for redundancy payments or to see their time out until retirement.
    Worryingly many of the more easily impressed staff are taken in by the bull they’re being fed and are fooled into going along happy clapper style with directives and in directions which will likely see them made redundant when further cuts or changes are needed.

    Until the board take action and the shareholders demand change the rot will continue and things will get even worse and with so little of a prestigious company left the result could be the likely closure of the entire business.

  2. Hear hear archibaldie
    my manager, I use the term loosely, spends most of his time sending passive aggressive emails or excel charts, trying to catch staff out, sucking up to his boss while running him down behind his back, checking on the Norwich city fc and England websites or outside / on the roof having a fag!
    He avoids any contact with potential customers ignores complaints and calls for help and while he thinks he has all the answers hasn’t a clue how to sell himself
    Is it any wonder ad revenues are so bad and staff have no confidence in those supposedly in charge any longer

    The frustrating thing is with good professional and respected managers in charge we could produce so much more and be better placed to improve the company’s fortunes.
    It’s wrong

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