Sales and profits up at Archant

REGIONAL media specialist Archant has hailed signs of positive news for the sector with the announcement of interim results showing improved revenue and profits.

REGIONAL media specialist Archant has hailed signs of positive news for the sector with the announcement of interim results showing improved revenue and profits.

Archant, whose titles include the East Anglian Daily Times, reported a 2.75% increase in revenue, adjusted for the disposal and acquisition of businesses during 2007, with operating profit up 1.12% on the same basis.

Overall revenue for the 26 weeks to June 30 was up 2.1% at £98.5million, against £96.4million for the same period last year, and total operating profit was up 8.6% at £10million, against a restated figure of £9.2million for the first half of 2006.

Operating profit before exceptional items and amortisation of intangibles increased by 0.9% to £14.5million, against £14.4million last time.


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Archant Chief Executive John Fry said that recent negative sentiment about the sector, and high profile disposals, had given the impression that regional local publishing was in decline but this couldn't be further from the truth.

“The challenge is greater than it has been but that doesn't mean that the sector is fundamentally flawed”, he said. “Archant has put considerable strategic focus on changing our business to deal with changes in local market places.”

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Archant had been a leader in the development of a layered strategy of products, said Mr Fry, realising that although newspapers continued to be an important part of the local mix, many advertisers and consumers also wanted a range of complementary products.

This had been particularly noticeable with web classified advertising where Archant now offered high quality classified sites tied closely to its print and online brands, a proposition which could not be offered by internet-only competitors.

The recruitment category, which had been one of the toughest for the regional press, was showing solid growth at Archant, helped by on line revenues, said Mr Fry.

“We have demonstrated that tight cost control, on the low growth areas of the business, allows you to invest in higher growth activities,” he added.

“Our web audiences are growing in excess of 50% a year. The advertising revenue we generate from those audiences is also growing. Our local magazine business is showing audience growth, revenue growth, and an increasing number of the titles delivering profits as they become established.”

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