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Revenue falls at Scotsman owner

JP stays positive amid CEO bonus dispute

Taking the biscuit: Johnston Press says circulation of key titles has risen

Johnston Press, owner of The Scotsman, Falkirk Herald and the ‘i’ newspaper has attempted to quell a potential showdown with shareholders on Monday with a positive outlook on trading performance.

The London-based company said more positive trends in the first quarter have continued and the board expects trading for the full year to be in line with market expectations.

However, the update shows revenue continues to fall and despite some upturn in volumes in key titles the company continues to rely on the ‘i’ which it acquired last year.

Shareholders have already persuaded the board to trim the maximum bonus it intended to pay its chief executive and chief financial officer.

The cost-cutting company had planned to increase the top payout to 180% of CEO Ashley Highfield’s £430,000 salary, but under a new three-year remuneration policy this will be capped at 120%, still nearly half a million pounds.

Update for the 17 week period from 1 January 2017 to 30 April 2017.:

·     Total revenues for the period, including the i, were up 0.2%; excluding the i, total revenues were down 12%

·     Digital advertising revenues (excluding classified) were up 10%; including classifieds, digital revenues were up 3%

·     On-network digital audiences are up 11% to 26m, with average page views up 17%

·     The i newspaper sales volumes (excluding bulks) up 4% in the 12 months since acquisition, circulation revenues up 23% and average website unique users grew 12% from February 2017 to March 2017

·     Circulation volumes of key daily newspapers, The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, continue to improve, while other large dailies have also seen some improvement, including the Sheffield Star, Yorkshire Evening Post and the Edinburgh Evening News

 The board notes that trading conditions for regional newspapers in the UK remain challenging and, while encouraged by improving trends across the group, the management team continues to take actions to manage its costs tightly.

* Official circulation figures reveal that The Scottish Sun on Sunday has moved into the lead in the Sunday popular market for the first time, with sales of 153,066. The Scottish Sun continues to lead the daily popular market with a circulation of 201,245 against The Daily Record’s 144,686.

The Times Scotland enjoyed a 14.24% increase from last year, with a daily circulation of 28,227. The Sunday Times heads the quality Sunday market, with a circulation of 49,509 – an increase of 2.59% since April 2016 –  more than its two main competitors combined.

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