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Ad revenue woes bring 500 extra job cuts at Northcliffe

LONDON - DMGT has said that 500 more jobs will go on top of the 500 previously announced at its regional newspapers division to compensate for further ad revenue drops, while rival Johnston Press is now open to offers for its flagship titles -- the Yorkshire Post and the Scotsman.

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The Daily Mail and General Trust this morning revealed it is expecting a 24% decline in first quarter ad revenues at Associated Newspapers and a 37% drop at Northcliffe Newspapers.

Explaining the need for "further substantial cost reductions", DMGT said it expects "a net total of about 1,000 people to leave Northcliffe this year, double the level envisaged at the time of our results in November 2008".

It announced Associated Newspapers will have to make reductions across "all cost categories".

The update on the rate of revenue decline in DMGT's newspaper divisions confirms the trend established for the month of January, when it reported a 40% year-on-year decline at Northcliffe, which publishes regional newspapers such as the Nottingham Evening Post and the Bristol Evening Post, and a 23% drop at Associated.

Earlier this month Northcliffe imposed a 12 month pay freeze on staff across all of its 130 papers.

The latest 24% figure for Associated does not include revenues from the majority slice of the Evening Standard that DMGT sold to Alexander Lededev at the end of February.

DMGT also warned that its Central European media division has seen "a sharp fall in activity levels in recent weeks".

Meanwhile, a report in the Sunday Telegraph claims that Johnston Press is open to offers for flagship titles such as the Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman, though it is not launching a formal sale process.

Johnston has apparently received and rejected a "too low" offer for The Scotsman in recent weeks.

It does have a formal sale process underway for its Irish newspapers such as the Leinster Leader.

Johnston is burdened with net debt of £477m and has a debt covenant test due in June. Earlier this month it reported that its ad revenues had dropped 36% since the start of the year.

Staff at the Yorkshire Post and its sister title the Yorkshire Evening Post, have staged a number of strikes this year in protest at coming redundancies.

The Sunday Telegraph also reported that Sport Media Group, the publisher of the Daily Sport, is poised to appoint restructuring advisers.

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