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Industry

Newsquest plans for predicted print decline

Having achieved profits of £108m due to the closure of 16 free newspapers, Newsquest predicts continued declines in print revenues and plans for “continuing robust cost control and re-engineering of the business.”

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Newsquest is preparing for the re-engineering of its business amidst predicted print revenue decline

In a strategic report published by the company on Companies House, factors such as GDPR, Brexit and increasing costs were all said to have contributed to the closures.

Paul Hunter, Newsquest’s finance director, writes: “The trading environment for regional newspapers, particularly free newspaper, remains very challenging as audiences and advertising move to digital solutions while the costs of production and distribution are rising.

“During the year the company closed 16 free newspapers that were no longer viable. In addition to these structural factors causing declining revenue in newspapers, the disruption created by the introduction of GDPR and Brexit related uncertainty impacted revenues.

“At the same time, costs increased year on year; newsprint price rises, higher auto enrolment pension contributions and the full year impact of the apprenticeship levy adversely impacted results.”

The company along with its trading subsidiaries operate in a competitive and dynamic environment where maintaining and developing the interest of the audience is critical

Despite the closure of 16 of its free newspapers, Newsquest reports that it has been expanding its portfolio of magazines across the country, growing revenues by 61% from launches, increasing publishing frequency and increased revenue per issue.

Despite the success of these efforts, Hunter predicts the declines in print revenues to continue to outweigh the growth in digital revenues: “Competing newspapers and alternative media, including the internet, impact the company’s ability to grow revenues.

“The directors anticipate that this will be the case in the immediate future, necessitating continuing robust cost control and re-engineering of the business. The company along with its trading subsidiaries operate in a competitive and dynamic environment where maintaining and developing the interest of the audience is critical to its commercial success in attracting advertisers and readers.”

According to its website, Newsquest generates 28m digital users per month - 22m more than print (6m).

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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