Reach reports record Q4 for digital as print circulation falls

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, January 8, 2021

Reach has seen a record digital performance in Q4, but print circulation sales were down for the publisher.

Reach's digital revenue grew by 24.9% in Q4
Reach's digital revenue grew by 24.9% in Q4

In a trading update published today (8 January), the group said it expects its underlying operating profit for 2020 “to be ahead of market expectations”, in the range of £130m to £135m.

Its digital revenue grew by 24.9% in Q4, up from 13.4% in Q3, with the company reaching five million online customer registrations in December.

It also completed the development of Reach ID, its proprietary customer insight platform which provides a combined view of a user's activity across all Reach sites.

It said these steps are key to its Customer Value Strategy, which is enabling the group to use enhanced data and insights to drive new product innovations and to grow revenue through more targeted brand opportunities and commercial partnerships.

The company’s print circulation sales were down 11.7% in Q4, though this was an improvement on the 12.6% decline it reported in Q3.

These trends contributed to an improved overall total revenue decline of 10.2% in Q4, compared with the 14.8% decline in Q3.

Reach also said it will launch new websites covering Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire this month, as well as expanding its MyLondon editorial team.

Chief executive Jim Mullen said: “It is a testament to our people that Reach has not only dealt with the unique challenges 2020 has presented, but we have accelerated our strategy and we are ahead of where we expected to be.

“The new Covid-19 restrictions bring macro-economic uncertainty, but the changes made in the business during 2020 to develop a new, more efficient operating model put us in a strong competitive position.”

Separately, following its announcement in November that the group was set to close two of its six printing sites, Reach confirmed to Printweek today that the Luton site has closed while the Fort Dunlop site in Birmingham is currently working through a transitional period prior to closure.

The Luton site, formerly West Ferry Printers, was acquired in 2018 as part of Reach's acquisition of Northern & Shell’s publishing assets.

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