Record publisher revenue down as ad sales fall
Advertising for print fell sharply in the first four months of the year
Group revenue at the publisher of the Daily Record and Express titles was down 5.9% in the first four months, against strong comparatives.
This was broadly unchanged from the year to date performance highlighted in the full year results in March, and in line with expectations.
Print revenue for the four months to 23 April was down 3%. Advertising revenue for print fell 19.2% and revenue for digital was 14.5% lower.
A rise in cover price rises produced a 2.1% uplift in circulation revenue, helping to maintain buoyancy.
“While macroeconomic conditions mean the overall market for digital advertising is challenging, data-driven revenue continues to outperform,” it said in a trading update.
“Reduced demand continues to be reflected in lower sector yields, particularly in the open market. The page view slowdown, referred to in March, has continued, with recent changes to the way Facebook presents news content, causing a reduction in referred traffic across the sector.
“Our investment in the US continues to progress. We currently have almost 100 full time roles in place and expect to launch US domain websites for both The Express and Mirror over the next few months.”
As previously announced, the group expects a reduction in operating costs of between 5% and 6% during FY23. Actions to deliver this are well advanced, with most of these savings to be realised during H2.
Profit expectations for FY23 remain in-line with market consensus.
Reach chief executive Jim Mullen said: “External factors continue to impact digital revenue, delivery of the customer value strategy is driving a higher quality mix, underpinned by the strength of print. Our focus on data, means customers are receiving and responding more often to relevant content and a more engaging user experience.
“Our scale, US expansion, strategic delivery and strong balance sheet give us confidence for the future.”