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Johnston Press digital revenues up 35.3%

LONDON - Regional newspaper group Johnston Press experienced a 35.3% growth in digital revenues for the five months to November 30 this year, while its print ad revenues declined.

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The company attributes rising digital revenues to its continued investment in website improvements and the launch of iAnnounce, which users access to set up their own dedicated page of personal events.

According to its pre-close trading update for the second half of the year ending December 31, overall ad revenues increased by 0.2% for the five months ending November 30, which compares favourably to the 1.5% decrease in ad revenues experienced in the first six months of the year.

But print advertising revenues remained down, declining by 0.8% in the same period. This was an improvement on the 2.9% decline reported during the first half of the year.

Newspaper sales revenue continues to grow as increased cover prices are offsetting declines in circulation.

The group warned it has incurred further non-recurring costs during the second half of the year due to the integration of the Scottish titles it acquired from Archant, the restructuring of its Irish business and losses on the disposal of non-core commercial printing businesses. It estimates these costs for the entire year will exceed £6m.

However, the board said it anticipated a satisfactory outcome for the year as a whole.

The board said in a statement: "The business is in excellent shape, the major print investments will contribute fully and the consequent reduction in the level of capital expenditure will have a positive impact on cash generation.

"We also expect continued rapid growth in our digital activities and to achieve ongoing improvements in the operation efficiency of the business."

The group, which publishes titles including The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, is set to announce its preliminary results on March 5 next year.

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