Profits rise at media company Archant

ARCHANT, the regional media business which includes the East Anglian Daily Times, has announced a large increase in group operating profit for the year to December 21, 2010, as it continued to invest in new initiatives, grow circulations and look for efficiencies.

In a preliminary statement to shareholders, chairman Richard Jewson said the group operating profit for the year of �8.2million was up 157%, from �3.2m in 2009,) while turnover fell by 1.9% to �139.3m, from �142.0m.

Mr Jewson said: “The impact of digital media on our traditional business has grown rapidly since broadband became mainstream and the economic downturn, which started in 2008, has served to accelerate that pace of change.

“Archant has faced the challenges presented by diversifying and repositioning its portfolio of media assets, by pursuing efficiencies, and by accelerating its business development activities to take advantage of the opportunities created.

“Digital revenue has grown throughout this difficult period, and we fully expect this to continue, as new initiatives are introduced and bear fruit.”

Newspaper like-for-like revenues for the year fell 5.9% to �92.6m, in part due to a significant reduction in public sector advertising, while magazines saw revenues increase 3.0% to �44.9m, assisted by progress in subscription copy sales, up 9.9% in the year and representing more than 50% of paid-for circulation.

In terms of circulation, all four of the company’s daily titles were among the top eight best performing regional newspapers last year, added Mr Jewson.