Johnston Press announce advertising revenue drop of eight per cent

THE publisher of The Scotsman newspaper has announced an eight per cent drop in its advertising revenue – compared to this time last year – during the second half of this year, up to now.

But Johnston Press, which also owns several local newspapers in Scotland, said that net debt was down from £386.67 million at the start of the year to £357 million at the start of this month, as it begins discussions with its lenders in relation to a refinancing of its borrowing during the first quarter of next year.

Says an interim management statement issued this morning, the eight per cent drop in total print and digital advertising revenue during the 18 weeks up to the fifth of this month compares with a ten per cent drop, year-on-year, during the first half of this year.

Circulation revenues declined by 1.6 per cent during the 18 weeks, an improvement on the 1.8 per cent decline between January and June.

Says the statement: “Display advertising, the group’s largest revenue category, continues to perform relatively well in a difficult UK advertising market, with year‑on‑year declines of 3.4 per cent in the 18 weeks, in line with the declines seen in the first half of the year. This category is being driven by local display revenues, as local retailers prioritise advertising to encourage consumer spending.”

Digital revenues increased during the 18-week period by 4.4 per cent, continuing the growth seen since May.

Adds Johnston Press: “We continue to implement cost savings plans, with full year like-for-like cost savings projected to be in excess of £20 million.”

Continues the statement: “With the continued cost savings and the improved advertising declines, we expect full year results for 2011 to be in line with current market expectations.”