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Northcliffe achieves £45m cost saving target

Regional newspaper publisher Northcliffe Media has achieved its target of an annual cost saving of £45m, its parent company Daily Mail and General Trust has reported.

This has been achieved in part by a reduction in publishing costs, which are three per cent lower than last year, and staff numbers have fallen by five per cent.

The group’s trading update, issued ahead of its year end on September 30, also reports that Northcliffe is continuing to see slowly improving advertising revenues.

It says comparable UK advertising revenues for the 11 months to August 2007 were less than one per cent lower than the same period last year, and in the last 12 weeks advertising revenues grew by 2.4 per cent, having been up 0.3 per cent in the previous quarter.

Recruitment advertising has grown year-on-year, up 1.2 per cent to the end of August, and growth since April has been much stronger at 5.8 per cent.

Property revenues were up by 7.9 per cent for the 11 months, although the rate of growth is slowing, and trends for motors and retail advertising, which saw falls of 10.7 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively, are improving.

Revenues from digital publishing are 74 per cent above last year and circulation revenues are down 1.2 per cent year-on-year.

The group’s regional titles include the Derby Evening Telegraph, Nottingham Evening Post, South Wales Evening Post, Leicester Mercury and Grimsby Telegraph.

In July Northcliffe bought 26 weekly newspapers from Trinity Mirror, including the Croydon Advertiser Series and Surrey Mirror Advertiser Series, the Herne Bay & Whitstable Times, Folkestone Herald and Dover Express, and the group says integration is proceeding well.

Overall DMGT says it newspaper divisions have continued to experience growth in advertising revenues, and it expects its adjusted results for the year to be in line with market expectations.