Newsquest advertising revenues down 30% in a year

Advertising revenues at regional newspaper publisher Newsquest fell by almost 30 per cent year on year in the last three months of 2008, parent company Gannett has announced.

Gannett said its UK division – which publishes 200 weeklies and 17 daily paid-for titles including the Northern Echo and Glasgow Evening Times – recorded a 29.3 per cent year-on-year ad revenue decline in the last quarter of the year.

In the same period, Newsquest classified revenues fell by 35.3 per cent year on year, including declines of 57.7 per cent in property advertising, 35.2 per cent in jobs and 31.2 per cent in car ads.

Gannett said it was looking to write down the value of its newspaper business by as much as $5.9bn (£4.1bn) because of the effect the recession was having on advertising revenues on both sides of the Atlantic.

Total group advertising revenues in the fourth quarter were $963.4m (£673m) – compared to $1.2bn (£838m) in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Gannett chief executive Craig Dubow said: “Our results for the quarter reflect the unprecedented turmoil in the economies of both the US and the UK and in the financial markets.

“Despite economic conditions, we pressed forward to transform Gannett and position it for the future and more favourable business conditions.

“Some tough decisions were made during the quarter regarding the size and structure of our operations, and these actions resulted in significant severance expenses.”

The company said it had paid $56m (£39m) in severance costs – redundancy payouts – in the fourth quarter of the year.

For the full year, Gannett said total revenues across all of its businesses were down nine per cent year on year to $6.8bn (£4.75bn).

The Newsquest network of websites claimed a monthly unique audience of 5.5 million – with an average of 68 million monthly page impressions.

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