Wednesday, April 25, 2012

News: Johnston Press posts loss


Johnston Press, one of the largest local newspaper publishers in the UK and operator of a £60m printing press in Rotherham, has released their latest financial results in a "challenging trading environment."

The Edinburgh company, that publishes the Yorkshire Post and The Star, made a loss of £143.8m in 2011 compared to a profit of £16.5m in the previous year.

The loss was primarily due to the impairment of the value of publishing titles of £163.7m. Pre-tax profits fell 6.9% to £28.4m and revenues declined 6.1% to £373.8m.

Revenues for print advertising continued to fall whilst costs were affected by significant price increases for newsprint.

A review of future requirements during the year led to a further rationalisation of print capacity. This led to the closure of a printing plant on the Isle of Man, and consultation began on the closure of the print facility in Leeds. In a statement, the company said that "these moves reflect activity across the industry and are essential for ensuring the efficiency and streamlining of our operations."

The state-of-the-art press in Dinnington is one of five modern print works operated by the group. During 2011, further enhancements to the presses in Dinnington and Portsmouth created new revenue opportunities by offering different newspaper formats.

The publisher recently announced a new strategy for all of its 170 paid-for titles with "platform neutral" content seen as the key component of the group's publishing strategy. The first phase includes switching five of its daily newspapers into weeklies.

The aim is to put digital at the heart of Johnston Press with new web, mobile and iPad offerings. Digital revenues grew by 0.7% in 2011.

Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press, said: "Although the prospects for the economy remain downbeat in the short term, I believe we can return Johnston Press to being a growth business through the twin track approach of re-launching and revitalising our papers while simultaneously growing our websites, and taking full advantage of the opportunities created by technology and the changing media demands of our users to deliver innovative propositions."

Johnston Press website

Images: ohnston Press


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