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October 15, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:27am

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

By Freddy Mayhew

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”.

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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.

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