Total revenue fell 6.3% to £293m for the first six months of 2008, year on year, while operating profit fell 15.6% to £81.6m. Interesingly, the group reports that digital revenues grew by 52.1%, but I suspect they were starting from a very low base.
The company said it has cut costs by £7.6m in the first half and will continue to do so.
Well cost cutting is all well and good as long as the quality of the reporting doesn’t suffer. Management needs to ensure editorial staff is sufficient in both number and ability to turn in the content that that readers need. Otherwise they’ll leave in droves and advertisers will follow them.
I’ve seen a real change in the Examiner’s business pages since reporter Julie Taylor left several months ago and haven’t heard anything about a replacement being sought. The Editor’s post too has been vacant for some weeks now, but Richard Butt will soon be arriving to take the helm.
It’s comforting to know that Isle of Man newspapers is one of the most profitable outfits in Johnston Press’s stable. Hopefully the cuts here won’t go much deeper.