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Subscriptions boost publisher’s profits after Covid disruption

A regional publisher reported improved financial figures and a net pre-tax profit of £7.3m in 2022 as sales recovered from Covid disruption.

DC Thomson, which includes Dundee titles the Courier and Evening Telegraph, Aberdeen’s Preess & Journal and Evening Express, and Scottish national The Sunday Post, saw revenues rise to £174.1m from £160.2m in 2020-21.

In its recently published annual accounts for the financial year ending March 31, the Dundee-based company attributed the increase in revenue to sales recovering from Covid disruption and new digital revenue streams.

In its report the company says it suffered falls in newspaper and magazine newsstand sales but they were compensated by increases in print and digital subscriptions.

DC Thomson’s Dundee headquarters.

DC Thomson’s Dundee headquarters.

It said: “Despite strong sales, margins were down one per cent year-on-year as the impact of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and rising inflation saw an £8m increase in the cost of raw materials, including paper.”

“The programme of change that started last year has shown good progress. We consolidated all companies in the media portfolio under one leadership team and there are good signs of growth in digital revenues, particularly news subscriptions.”

“A digital-first approach was taken by specialist ‘mini publishing teams’ given the tools and training to tell local stories in modern ways, mixing traditional reporting with techniques such as data journalism and video documentary

“A set of four principles were also formed to ensure that each article and piece of content successfully delivered great journalism that is TRUE: truthful, relevant, unique and engaging.”

DC Thomson chairman Christopher Thomson, said: “The impact of our transformation programme and the easing of disruption caused by the pandemic both contributed to an improved year of trading for DC Thomson in the year to March 2022.

“We saw encouraging growth in subscriptions, events and digital revenues with growth revenues outstripping the decline in traditional print revenues for the first time.

“The first half of this current financial year saw that growth continue but we, like all UK businesses, now face considerable economic headwinds.

“But we take a long-term view. We are confident that we have the right strategy in place and continue to invest in building the business for a sustainable future.”