Britain’s fourth largest regional newspaper group Johnston Press injected some much needed cheer into the depressed sector last week with its forecast that H2 earnings would reflect a year-on-year increase in advertising revenues.

Although performance had been affected by the September 11 atrocities, profits for 2001 would be at the higher end of market expectations despite a first-half slowdown in adspend growth from 3.6% to 1.6%. Advertising for job vacancies had risen by 13% in the first half, although the sector reflected a sharp fall to just 1.4% growth in the ensuing five months.

Johnston’s performance compares well with that of Trinity Mirror [WAMN: 11-Dec-01] whose regional titles saw advertising revenue fall 2.3% in October and 2.9% in November. In the same months, its Scottish newspapers registered respective declines of 13% and 17.3%.

News source: Media Week (UK)