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May 3, 2024

Reach page views down by a third after Facebook and Google changes

Revenue at Reach was down by 6.7% overall in the three months to 31 March.

By Charlotte Tobitt

Page views across the websites of the UK’s biggest commercial publisher Reach were down by a third in the first quarter of 2024.

The publisher attributed this decline of 33% to the “deprioritisation of news during 2023 by major platforms” in its latest quarterly update. Both Facebook and Google have made major changes to their algorithms affecting news referral traffic in the past year.

However Reach said the impact of this was “partially offset” by a strengthened yield per page and added that the year-on-year drop in referral traffic will be less consequential as the year goes on.

Reach owns newsbrands including the Mirror, Express, Star, Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Live and many more.

Overall in the three months to 31 March, Reach said revenue was down by 6.7% compared to the same period in 2023.

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Digital revenue was down 8.5% while print was down by 6% – print advertising declined by 10.7% but circulation revenue by a smaller 3.4%.

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The publisher said circulation revenues “remain a predictable and reliable revenue stream with the expected volume decline mitigated by actions on cover prices and availability”.

In digital, Reach said its “higher value and more targeted” data-driven revenues had grown and now make up 45% of digital revenues, compared to 39% in the same period last year. This includes revenue from advertising activity that utilises data generated by registrations, audience behavioural or its Mantis contextual tool, as well as other revenues less dependent on audience volumes such as affiliates, partnerships and ecommerce.

Reach said it believes it is on track for adjusted operating profit of £97.6m, up slightly from £96.5m last year.

Reach reduced its headcount by 14% in 2023 as it made more than 700 redundancies during the year. It said this week it remains confident in reducing operating costs by 5-6%.

Chief executive Jim Mullen said: “We have set the business up to succeed – the decision to take cost action early, alongside the continued implementation of the Customer Value Strategy is delivering a growing yield performance and driving results. This gives me confidence that we can continue to navigate current market conditions.

“With events like the European Football Championships, Olympics and elections round the corner we have the opportunity to generate high levels of interest by entertaining and informing our audiences with brilliant journalism.”

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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