Date

Sat - 18.11.2017


Johnston Press

In recent years, Johnston Press hasn’t often been the subject of good financial news. The company, which is the UK’s second-largest regional newspaper publisher, announced a yearly pre-tax loss of £144 million in April, cut 670 jobs – 11.3% of its staff – last year, and has seen the book value of its papers fall from $907 million in 2010 to £742.8 million in December 2011.

Yet on several occasions Johnston Press CEO Ashley Highfield has maintained that all the company’s newspapers are profitable. In January this year, he told In Publishing “every newspaper in the group has a healthy margin over 20 per cent.”

Now Patrick Smith at The Media Briefing has examined this claim and has found that profits are indeed relatively high at one “JP title, typical of many of its 175 weeklies.” Smith keeps the name and region of the paper anonymous, but he specifies that its circulation is around 10,000 per issue.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-06-08 14:25

Big changes are taking place at Johnston Press, after the publisher’s CEO Ashley Highfield promised last March to make the company a “digital first” entity. “We’re going to flip the model from newspaper-first every day to digital-first, and you take the best and produce a bumper weekly in print. By 2020, that will be the model,” he told paidContent at the time.

In April, Johnston Press announced plans to re-launch all of its 170 paid-for titles – with the exception of The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, The News Letter and The Yorkshire Post – as “platform neutral” publications. As previously reported, the changes began with the decision to re-launch five Johnston Press daily papers - Northants Evening Telegraph, Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Halifax Courier, The Scarborough Evening News and Peterborough Evening Telegraph - as online publications with a weekly printed edition by the end of May.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-05-21 15:36

By the end of next month, five Johnston Press daily local papers will begin publishing in print just once a week and will distribute daily news on digital platforms only, the company announced today.

The changes were already suggested last month, when CEO of Johnston Press Ashley Highfield told paidContent: “we’re going to flip the model from newspaper-first every day to digital-first.” Highfield suggested that in the future Johnston press papers would “produce a bumper weekly in print. By 2020, that will be the model. We’ve run the numbers and think that can be a profitable model.”

Although the nature of the re-launches at Johnston Press are not surprising, the speed with which they are being implemented is more of a shock. According to the company’s press release, Johnston Press intends to radically redesign all of its 170 titles by the end of the year to make them “platform neutral.” Further details of Johnston Press’s new digital publishing strategy will announced on 25th April, when the company is due to release its annual results.

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-04-16 16:24

When Ashley Highfield, former the director of Microsoft's UK consumer and online business and previous head of technology for the BBC, was appointed as CEO of Johnston Press last July, it was natural to assume that he would be guiding the publisher towards a digital future. But not long after he took up his position, The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade criticised him for defending print and offering “nothing different from what we have heard for years from the digitally-blind ink-stained veterans of the press.”

Perhaps Greenslade can rest easy now, because speaking at The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit last Wednesday, Highfield made a firm commitment to turning making Johnston Press’s local newspapers “digital-first”.

“We are going to be launching new websites for every one of our papers,” said Highfield, who is quoted by paidContent. “We’re going to flip the model from newspaper-first every day to digital-first, and you take the best and produce a bumper weekly in print. By 2020, that will be the model. We’ve run the numbers and think that can be a profitable model.”

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-03-23 15:27

Last month it may have seemed that Ashley Highfield, appointed CEO of Johnston Press last July, wasn't moving forward with plans to restructure the company particularly quickly.

But now it appears that changes are taking place at the publisher. The Scotsman, one of the biggest papers owned by the group, reported yesterday that three Johnston Press executives were "in consultation over their future with the publishing company".

One of these is Michael Johnston, divisional managing director for Scotland and North-East, who is the last member of the company's founding family to still work with the group. 

Were Johnston to leave the company, his departure would mark the end of a long history; Johnston Press was founded as a printing business in Falkirk 1767 and bought its first newspaper, the Falkirk Herald, in 1846. 

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-23 17:37

Last July Johnston Press appointed Ashley Highfield, previously head of technology at the BBC and then director of Microsoft's UK consumer and online business, as its new CEO.

The appointment raised two questions. One: why did Johnston Press hire a boss with no newspaper experience? Two: Why would Highfield want to head Johnston Press, which has seen its share price drop from 480p to 5p over the last five years?

Both of these points have been raised by Raymond Snoddy who has published a long interview with Highfield in In Publishing's bi-monthly magazine.

The answer to the first question seems obvious: Johnston Press was investing in a Digital First Future. Other news publishers have done the same; in November Time Warner Inc. hired Laura Lang, formerly of the digital advertising company Digitas, as its CEO.

In his interview with Snoddy, Highfield is clear that Johnston's future is as a diversified media company: "yes I have absolutely no previous newspaper experience but the board had already made the decision that the future of Johnston Press lay in moving the organisation beyond print and that was explained to me in the first sentence".

Author

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-26 18:20

Johnston Press could hand editorial control of a number of newspaper pages to North Yorkshire Council as part of a plan that will see the authority-run title scrapped.

The council said it needed to deliver "significant levels of savings" and would cease publication of its own newspaper and instead forge partnerships with a number of its local papers.

Continue reading on PressGazette

Author

Anton Jolkovski

Date

2011-02-07 17:40

Johnston Press will evaluate "everything" at its Irish-based newspapers and printing operations but is yet to make a formal decision on any cutbacks, the company's Irish head said on Thursday, The Irish Independent reported Friday.

The UK incorporated Johnston is reviewing the operations of its Irish branch as it attempts to cut a further £30 million to offset the ongoing declines in advertising revenue.

The media group originally planned to sell its 15 Irish newspapers and two printing presses, but the near finalised deals fell through in May. Since the failed sale, cost cutting measures at the Irish operation seem inevitable. The most obvious measure is the shuttering of either the Limerick or the Kilkenny printing press, according to the Independent.

"We're reviewing everything, but no decisions have been made yet," Johnston's Irish boss Barry Brennan said yesterday.

The publisher had wanted around €70 million for the sale of its Irish papers and presses that cost upwards of €200 million to put together, the Independent reported.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2009-06-05 18:31

Following the first financial losses in their history, the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday will merge newsrooms to cut costs, MediaGuardian reported. The new structure is being discussed with staff and unions of the two titles, and are expected to be announced soon, according to the group's editor-in-chief.

The Scotsman Publications Ltd., owned by Johnston Press, also publishes the Edinburgh Evening News. Due to the advertising slump and circulation downturn, the group saw its first losses in January since being launched in 1817.

"At this point, we think we're better served not fully integrating both newsrooms, however that's not to say we may do it in the future," John McLellan, the group's editor-in-chief, told MediaGuardian. "It's a very tightly staffed, it's an efficient organisation, and starting to pull bits of it apart isn't necessarily going to make it more efficient."

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2009-05-01 17:19

Executive directors of UK regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press agreed to forgo bonuses for 2008, due to a fall in earnings, Media Guardian reported Wednesday.

The executives also saw total pay decline by about 46 percent; however, basic salaries did increase. Tim Bowdler, the company's former chief executive, for example, saw his total remuneration fall 46 percent from his 2007 earnings, but his basic salary increased by £17,000, according to the 2008 annual report.

In 2007, Bowdler's total pay was £1,088,000. In 2008, he received £584,000, including a base salary of £573,000, according to the annual report, out Wednesday, Media Guardian reported. Bowdler's replacement, John Fry, will be paid half the original annual salary of his predecessor.

Johnston Press's chief financial officer, Stuart Patterson, saw his salary drop 45 percent from 2007. Danny Cammiade, the chief operating officer, and Roger Parry, the outgoing chairman, also saw similar pay decreases after passing on their bonuses.

"Given the reductions in earnings in 2008 and the significant drop in the company's share price in the year, every director voluntarily agreed to forgo any bonus for 2008," the report stated, according to Media Guardian.

Johnston Press publishes more than 300 newspapers across the UK, including 18 dailies, such as the Scotsman.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2009-03-26 12:25

Syndicate content

© 2015 WAN-IFRA - World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Footer Navigation