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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.

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

Comments

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

  1. It’s well known Archant are top heavy with managers and action to get the number down is desperately needed, however I feel the main cause of such an abysmal set of figures is due in great part to the poor quality and irrelevant content, particularly the online output.

    Old news,typos,inaccuracies, text speak and the over use of ICYMI click bait are made worse by the amount of non local space filler being used to pad out their social media posts. Only this week there was the laughable ‘ 5 places to eat cheaply and well in Dubrovnik’ flighted on the Eastern Daily Press timeline which, unsurprisingly,drew ridicule and derision.

    Until they realise people looking for genuine Norfolk news will be put off by the dire irrelevance of posts such as this they’ll continue to lose online traffic ( in 2018 it was -200,000 y/y) paid for copy sales, advertisers and credibility.
    The newspaper side of the business looks irrecoverable which is why they’ve all but abandoned it in favour of growing their online audience which makes understanding and delivering what the communities want to read about so vital.

    It’s a real shame as a decade or so ago the company and its portfolio of daily and weekly titles were essential and valued local papers but sadly not any longer as evidenced by probably the worst set of figures the company has ever had to post.

  2. Exactly that ‘Insider’

    It’s staggering to see how far the company has fallen in the past 5-6 years with the same names shuffling around but doing nothing to drive the business or achieve the company’s aims.
    There are far too many highly paid desk bound managers, keeping themselves busy pushing paper around, filling their day attending meetings. sending emails and producing pointless spread sheets but actually doing nothing other than demotivating staff and crawling around their bosses.
    The company can make substantial savings by thinning out the deadwood with no discernible loss to the business.
    Allowing under achieving ‘managers’ to carry on while the company fails on all fronts gives out totally the wrong message.

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