More Local News Gloom – Kent Messenger Axing Jobs, Offices

It’s not a great time to be in business – but an especially bad one for regional newspaper publishers. Kent Messenger Group, which owns more than 10 newspapers with a combined circulation of nearly one million in England’s south-east, is the latest to report some disastrous figures.

The paper said today the “poor economic climate” has seen its revenue dip by 25 to 30 per cent, or £9 million, in the last year. As a result it will make 61 of its 641 staff redundant and shut six offices. KM Group claims 200,000 monthly unique users for its rudimentary Kent Online site, but the company’s statement today is conspicuously lacking in talk a of web strategy.

Johnston Press declared its ad revenue had dropped 9.5% in the six months to June, but its digital revenues grew by 52.1%. Northcliffe recently published its web figures through ABCe – boasting a 45% uplift in traffic year on year and more than three million monthly uniques.
Two months ago Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) launched a plan to save its Midlands titles, including the Birmingham Post and Mail, by axing 65 jobs and reorganising its journalists to boost the papers’ online offering…

So while most publishers are scrambling to minimise their exposure to the rapidly diminishing print display and classified ad market, it seems that others continue to manage decline in a tough environment.