Johnston Pledges Rapid 2008 Digital Investment Despite Financial Worries

Regional news publisher Johnston Press reckons digital revenues will have increased 35.3 percent in its half-year to December 31 by the time it posts the official figures in March, it said today in a trading statement. Much of the growth is credited to the introduction of iAnnounce, a white-label births, deaths and marriages platform introduced in March and which is also used by rivals Newsquest and Kent Messenger. In the statement, the group “anticipates that this service has the potential to drive significant revenue growth”. What’s more, it pledged increased investment next year to generate “rapid growth” in the digital area – but warned the state of the financial markets “must lead to a degree of caution when considering prospects for 2008“. Print turned a corner in the year, with dead-tree ad revenue moving from down 1.5 percent in the first calendar half-year to up 0.2 percent so far this half – but in Ireland that was considerably slower thanks to a worsening housing market.