Northcliffe, the regional newspaper arm of the Daily Mail and General Trust, is facing "another tough year" the company said in its preliminary results for the year ended October 3, which were announced today.
DMGT reported: "Northcliffe: facing another tough year; UK advertising revenue in the first seven weeks down 7% on last year, continuing year-on-year trend experienced in September (like-for-like decline of 8%).
"Outlook for first quarter not expected to improve on this trend; will also be affected by higher newsprint costs; focus remains on reducing costs and new revenue opportunities."
Northcliffe increased its UK operating profits by £6.7 million (34%) to £26.5 million. Underlying revenues were down £16 million or 6% and reported revenues by 8% to £262 million, with advertising revenues down by 7% to £186 million.
DMGT says digital advertising revenues of £17 million grew by an underlying 13% and the company continued its programme of restructuring and process innovation and delivered year-on-year underlying cost savings of £26 million.
By category, recruitment revenues declined by an underlying 19%. DMGT Says: "Although the increase in unemployment levels showed some early signs of slowing, recent Budget cut announcements have, as expected, had a heavy impact on our private and public sector recruitment spend. "
Newspaper circulation revenues fell on an underlying basis by 6% or £4 million. For the January to June 2010 ABC period, circulation of our dailies was down 7.7% compared with an industry average of 6.7%. The weekly titles recorded a fall of 4.4%, a result which outperformed the industry average by 1.5 percentage points.
DMGT says: "Northcliffe has continued to innovate and change processes to drive down operational costs which have been reduced by £26 million or 10%. Staff costs fell by an underlying £14 million as headcount was reduced by 242 or 7% since September 2009. Greater efficiency has been delivered across all departments."