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Publisher ‘exceeding market expectations’ despite revenue decline

Jim Mullen 1Reach plc says it has “exceeded market expectations” due to digital revenue growth in the second half of 2020 – despite experiencing an overall revenue decline.

In a trading update issued this morning, the publisher revealed digital revenue growth of 16.2pc for the five months to 22 November 2020.

The company said circulation sales had “remained resilient despite the recent lockdown”, although a decline in print revenue of 19.6pc contributed to a group revenue decline of 13.9pc.

In the update, covering the period from 29 June to today, Reach noted its costs had been “significantly reduced” after undergoing a restructure in which around 300 editorial roles were made redundant.

The company has also recently announced plans to close two of its six printing sites, with around 150 jobs at risk.

In the update, Reach revealed customer registrations have now exceeded 4.25m, while a total of 42.1m unique monthly visitors accessing its websites during October.

Chief executive Jim Mullen, pictured, said: “The passion and talent of our people continue to take the group and its news brands forward to its digital future. Reach has continued to deliver great content and continues to drive increased customer loyalty and engagement.

“The headwinds from Covid-19 have been considerable, but while we remain mindful of potential impacts from the current lockdowns, we approach the end of the year with a strong and growing digital business, resilient print circulation sales, and a new, efficient operating model.

“Our customer value strategy is now entering a new phase, with an increased focus on business intelligence and insight. The launch of the Reach ID, which will deliver a single view of customer activity across our national and regional network, is on track for December, and will provide enhanced data and insight that will support further digital revenue growth.

“2020 has been a pivotal year for Reach and the response of our colleagues to the challenges of 2020 has been first-class. Whilst macroeconomic uncertainty remains, we approach 2021 with confidence in the long-term value of our loyal audience and trusted brands and with strong digital momentum.”