Archant shot down by fall in advertising

NORWICH-based publisher Archant made a pre-tax loss of &pound;25.2m last year as the savage pullback in advertising spend hit its regional newspaper and magazine businesses.<br /><br />The company, which owns titles such as the Eastern Daily Press and the Islington Gazette, said the collapse in the housing market particularly affected property classifieds, which are usually lucrative.<br /><br />Group turnover was down 9.6 per cent at &pound;175.1m, while newspaper revenue fell 12.3 per cent and magazine and contract publishing revenue fell 2.9 per cent.<br /><br />Property advertising in Archant&rsquo;s regional newspapers was down 31 per cent. Advertising revenues were down 13.5 per cent overall.<br /><br />The company reacted by cutting staffing levels by 10 per cent in its print division. It warned more redundancies were on the cards.<br /><br />One bright spot was Archant&rsquo;s website operations, which include jobs24 and homes24, which almost doubled their unique visitor numbers over the year to 1.8m hits a month.<br /><br />Chief executive Adrian Jeakings, speaking at the end of 2008, said: &ldquo;We have... initiated further cost saving actions and accelerated those already underway. These actions will inevitably reduce our workforce.&rdquo;