Birmingham Post may go weekly having faced competition from online rivals

August 17, 2009

The Birmingham Post, which has been a daily publication in one of the UK’s biggest cities for the past 152 years, may cease daily publication, the FT reports:

The circulation of the Birmingham Post has dropped from 18,500 to 12,700 since 2000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Locally, a fully paid circul-ation of less than 7,000 is spoken of. It is understood that options studied by Trinity Mirror, which owns the white-collar morning title, include converting the lossmaking publication into a weekly title. The media group might publish the Birmingham Mail, an evening newspaper with a blue-collar readership, in the mornings instead.

Free papers have also impacted on the daily’s sales – a problem for many newspaper publishing through the week in major cities, which thanks to the volume of people and wide extent of public transport, lend themselves to free papers.

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GMG releases full year profits

July 31, 2009

The Guardian Media Group (GMG) has published it’s financial results for 2008-2009.

With a turnover of £405.4 million, it would appear GMG is managing to weather the financial storm – but it also had pre-tax losses of nearly £90 million, having turned a profit o £306.4 million in 2008.

Amelia Fawcett, Chair of GMG, said

“While declining revenues were a factor in our financial performance, the reported loss is also due to the restructuring of the portfolio over the last two years – specifically the partial sale of Trader Media Group and investment of the proceeds in long-term assets

The Guardian webste is still a source of pride for GMG:

During the year guardian.co.uk achieved a record audience of nearly 30m unique users. It is now not only the UK’s largest newspaper site but also one of the biggest in the world.

GNM’s aim is to emerge from the economic downturn a leaner and stronger organisation: leaner due to a bottom-up reappraisal of the cost base to ensure it is affordable; stronger because it will continue to invest in its journalism and in maintaining its market-leading positions.

Despite this, Guardian News and Media made a loss of £36 million. However it is local and regional press, unsurprisingly, that is suffering the most. The results reveal that GMG is in fact operating these publications at a loss for the last six months:

GMG Regional Media’s operating profit declined to £0.5m (2008 £14.3m) on turnover of £94.5m (2008 £120.5m). This steep decline was driven by a 30% fall in classified advertising revenues. Recruitment fell by 34%, motors by 16% and property by 46%. Display revenues slipped by 7%.

As reported by how-do, which reports on the media industry in the North West, the drop is classifieds has been significant for GMG.

The Guardian is the advantageous position of not being required to turn a profit, thanks to it’s ownership by the Scott Trust. It has been suggested that one of the survival routes for newspaper journalism is to be administered by charities or philanthropic organisations, rather than aggressive companies. The journalism still has to be paid for, but is free experiment more widely and undertake some projects at a loss.


Observer abandons TV guide due to falling revenue

July 28, 2009

From Journalism.co.uk, news that the Observer has stopped printing it’s TV guide, and is facing a backlash from readers. This is Stephen Pritchard, reader’s editor:

The figures are stark. With advertising revenue set to plummet 26 per cent this year and circulation down 6.9 per cent on last year, the Observer, like other newspapers, is having to make painful decisions about what it can afford to print. Loyal readers have displayed remarkable forbearance recently as the news, business and sport sections have gradually slimmed down but they could contain themselves no longer when the TV guide disappeared.”

I’ve always been a greater fan of Saturday Guardian’s pocket-sized Guide, but that’s not quite the point. What other supplements will the Sunday’s be cutting back on in an attempt to reduce print costs?