Wednesday 10 November 2010

Public sector ad decline hits Johnston Press

Johnston Press in its Interim Management Statement for the 44 weeks to 6 November 2010 published today, reports total advertising in the second half of the year down by 5.4%, compared to a first half decline of 6.3%.

The company said that in the the last 18 weeks, public sector sourced advertising has been "particularly difficult" and although it only made up approximately 9% of total advertising in the third Quarter, the declines have been sufficient to slow the overall rate of improvement in advertising performance.

Property advertising continues to grow with other categories, excluding recruitment, either continuing to show reduced rates of decline or growing in some of its geographic divisions. The decline in print advertising revenues excluding recruitment in the second half to date is 2.5%, with the decline in recruitment advertising in the same period being 29.1%.

Digital advertising growth has continued with our employment offering continuing to gain market share in the regions where we publish. Over 50% of news websites have now been upgraded to the new platform which the company says "provides improved interactivity, enhanced content and will facilitate the roll out of our business directory offering, in partnership with Qype, in 2011".

Despite higher newsprint prices in the second half, the Group continues to make year on year cost savings with total savings for the year now expected to be in excess of £20m. In order to further reduce costs in the Republic of Ireland the printing operation in Limerick will be closed.

Net Debt continues to reduce, falling to £388m at the end of October, a reduction of £13m in the second half to date.

The statement says: "Despite the decline in total advertising revenues being slightly worse than previously anticipated, this has been largely offset by increased cost savings and therefore it is expected that the outcome for the year will be satisfactory."

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