Reach cuts back as revenue falls

Stephen Chapman's picture
Jim Mullen

Reach has issued a trading update for the 4 months to the end of April, showing that its revenue has fallen by 13.1%.

Print revenue was down by 15.8%, but digital income increased by 4.7%.

At the start of April, the publisher announced a series of cost cutting plans, which have now been introduced. In addition it implemented measures including pay reductions, suspension of its bonus schemes and furloughing staff. It will also be deferring monthly pension contributions for 3 months.

It said in the statement, that there had been “encouraging digital growth” at the start of the year, but Covid-19 began impacting the group from mid-March. Since then, it has seen declines in circulation sales; falls in national and local print advertising revenues; and reduced printing requirements from other companies.

However, it had seen “unprecedented demand” across its digital titles, with 42m online users in March. In April. it had total page views of 1.7bn, which is up 57%.

"Our priority in this crisis has been to ensure the health and safety of our colleagues and I would like to thank all of them for the positive way they have responded throughout this process,” stated Jim Mullen, Reach plc’s Chief Executive.

“Our teams continue to focus on producing the award-winning journalism and content that is so valued by our customers at this critical time. We continue to build on our position as the UK's largest commercial national and regional news publisher. Our strategy is now even more relevant than before the crisis so we are accelerating plans to drive digital engagement and capture the customer insight and data that is so key.  This will ensure a strong and sustainable future for Reach's trusted news brands." 

During April, the first full month of impact from the lockdown, group revenue fell by 30.5%. Print was down 31.8% and digital fell by 22.5%. It added that advertising remained “very challenging and uncertain, with regional advertising particularly impacted.”