Reach recovery: digital advertising rises 42.7%, print falls another 5.2%

Reach News Publisher appears to have escaped the worst that the demise of print and coronavirus could throw at them after posting strong digital performances and higher circulation figures in half-year results.

Digital revenues now account for 23% of Reach’s revenues in the first half of 2021 – a hefty jump from the 15% proportion recorded in 2019.

Healthy revenues

  • Interim results for the 26 weeks to June 27 indicate that revenues rose 2.6%, with the lion’s share of growth accounted for by digital (up 42.7%) – even as print fell a further 5.2%.

  • Digital powered ahead to deliver £68.8m of revenue, with growth on a two-year basis up by 41.4%. Comparatively, the equivalent growth in 2020’s second half was 39.8%.

  • Print revenues continue to deliver the bulk of revenue at £232.4m, but the secular decline continued apace, dropping a further 5.2%.

  • Circulation brought in £160m, down 5.1%, meaning that on a two-year basis print and circulation were down 23.9% and 16% respectively.

  • Reach is more confident than ever about reaching 10 million registrations by 2022.

Reach renewal

  • The successful rollout of Reach ID has resulted in cash flow improvements. Data capabilities have also been improved, which allow advertisers to target more specific campaigns.

  • Reach has also strengthened its bottom line with the commercialization of its suite of ‘plus’ products, subject to no less than 50 campaigns.

  • Reach has moved the content of its content towards wellbeing and culture to capture current zeitgeist. The organization has also implemented a diversity plan.

  • Chief operating officer Jim Mullen said: “Award-winning national and local journalism is delivering consistently higher audience engagement, supported by increased customer insight. As a result, we have been able to increase investment in journalism and the applied data technology that is key to us achieving our ambition of doubling digital growth over the medium term.”

An uncertain outlook

  • Success in the moment is not a guarantee of future returns. This is especially true in a world with many macro-political uncertainties and economic uncertainty.

  • Reach attests that it is ‘well-placed’ to ride out any further turbulence, anticipating that recent momentum will continue for the foreseeable future, notably an improvement in print circulation and digital revenues as the lockdown eases.

  • Stability is also provided by an increase in net cash to £54.7m, up from £42m at the end of last year, to cushion the impact of any downturn.

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