UK regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press defied the ad slump last year, posting a rise in revenues.

Johnston, the nation’s fourth largest regional news publisher by revenues, reported a 2.1% increase in like-for-like advertising income for 2002. Property ads performed particularly well, rising 3.7%, though recruitment advertising suffered a slight fall.

Pre-tax profits stood at £92.7 million ($144.3m; €136.5m), well up on 2001’s £68.5m. Turnover jumped from £300.6m to £428.4m following the acquisition of Regional Independent Media a year ago [WAMN: 12-Mar-02]. Johnston now owns 244 titles, more than any other UK regional newspaper group

As for 2003, ceo Tim Bowdler said he expects ad growth to continue, though the looming war in Iraq makes the future uncertain.

“We have made a satisfactory start to 2003,” declared chairman Roger Parry. “The outlook is clouded by events overseas and their potential impact on the UK economy, including business and consumer confidence.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff