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Reach hit by news downgrade by social platforms

Record and Express
Revenue fell at Reach titles

Group revenue at Reach, owner of the Daily Record, Express and a host of regional newspapers, fell by 6.7% in the first quarter as social media platforms downgraded news.

Digital revenue was down 8.5% and print fell 6%.

It said print circulation revenues remain a predictable and reliable revenue stream with the expected volume decline mitigated by actions on cover prices and availability. Print advertising revenue outperformed volume trends due to higher spend levels from advertisers.

Deprioritisation of news during 2023 by major social media platforms meant that year-on-year page views declined 33%. This has been partially offset by the strengthening yield per page.

The company said it is confident in delivering the reduction in operating costs of 5-6% in line with previous guidance.

Jim Mullen, Reach chief executive, said: “We have set the business up to succeed – the decision to take cost action early, alongside the continued implementation of the customer value strategy is delivering a growing yield performance and driving results.

“This gives me confidence that we can continue to navigate current market conditions. With events like the European Football Championships, Olympics and elections round the corner we have the opportunity to generate high levels of interest by entertaining and informing our audiences with brilliant journalism.”

Despite the slip in revenue, investors were positive on the group’s prospects and the absence of nasty surprises, and shares rose 6.75p, or 9%, to 81p as it said it was on track to meet full-year expectations.

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