Northcliffe jobs cull boosts profits

Northcliffe, the newspaper conglomerate which owns many papers throughout the South West including the Bristol Evening Post and Western Daily Press, has dramatically increased profits even though advertising revenue is still falling.

UK operating profits jumped £8.9 million to £12.3m in the six months to April 4, said owner Daily Mail and General Trust.

More than 30 jobs were cut by the company across the South West in April, 11 in Bristol. A major restructure further slashed job numbers at the Western Daily Press with several newsdesk jobs moved to Plymouth while – bizarrely – sub-editing posts were moved from Plymouth to Bristol.

Across Northcliffe Media a total of 143 jobs were lost in in the period, four per cent of the workforce.

Revenue fell by seven per cent to £13m and advertising revenues in the regional newspaper division were down by nine per cent to £9m.

Income from property ads was up 1 per cent, but all other sectors declined with retail down 4 per cent, recruitment down 24 per cent, notices down 8 per cent and motors down by 6 per cent. All other categories combined contracted by 9 per cent.

UK digital revenues rose by 13 per cent to £9m even though recruitment income fell 14 per cent. Circulation revenues dropped 7 per cent to £3m.

From July to December 2009 ABC circulation of Northclifee daily titles fell 8 per cent and weeklies by 6 per cent.

The Bristol Evening Post did slightly better than the Northcliffe average in the period, down 7 per cent to a sale of 43,247.

The Western Daily Press however did considerably worse, dropping 10.7 per cent to 34,109.

Northcliffe  titles across the UK did worse than their competitors: the average loss for all daily titles was 7.2 per cent while for weeklies it was 5.8 per cent.

The number of visitors across the entire digital network rose by 16 per cent in March 2010 against the same month the year before.

Operating costs were 15% lower than in the previous period, with lower newsprint and other production costs, staff and distribution costs in particular.

Trading during April and the first three weeks of May has seen advertising revenues 4% below last year. Property (up 9%) and recruitment (up 2%: first growth for over two years) have performed well, retail continues to show single digit declines, whereas notices are finding market conditions challenging.

DMGT’s half-year results can be found here.

UK Press Gazette: DMGT: Revenues down, profits up, Tigger goes AWOL

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    The group could save even more money by getting one editor and a deputy to manage both the the WDP and EP.

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