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Scotsman owner sees slump in print

Johnston Press reports lower revenue

ScotsmanJohnston Press, owner of The Scotsman and the Falkirk Herald, reported a further fall in revenue and said it expects underlying profit and net debt for the full year to be in line with expectations.

The company said it continued to focus on cost savings which were delivering strong cashflows and debt reduction.

Circulation revenues were down 7.2% in the 17 weeks to 31 October, having declined 6.5% in the second quarter. During the period the company relaunched The Scotsman.

It said digital audience growth remains a priority and the number of unique users has grown on average by 22% to 21.5m per month during the period.

However, underlying total revenues fell 8.8% year on year, having fallen 7.6% in the second quarter. 

Underlying digital revenues were up 8.4%, while publishing revenues fell 10.8% and print advertising revenues were down 14.7%.

1XL, the digital advertising exchange partnership, launched in late 2014, helped the national digital advertising category grow by 106.5% in the period, leading to overall growth in national combined print and online display revenues of 3.8% for the period.

Former classified categories of employment and property declined 22.4% and 20.8% respectively in the period impacting heavily on overall print and digital revenues.

The company said: “We have continued to focus on offsetting revenue decline with cost reduction, and have made good progress in controlling production, editorial and advertising costs in line with our strategic initiatives: ‘News room of the future’ and ‘Sales force of the future’.”

In October it announced it had closed or merged 11 small free print titles as part of the portfolio simplification programme. This programme has continued with seven further titles being closed or merged, “to align resource to brands and geographies offering the greatest opportunity”.

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