Reach blames Facebook for revenue decline

  • 03 May 2023

Reach, the UK’s biggest regional newspaper publisher and owner of the Mirror and Express, blamed Meta for a slump in digital revenues as the social platform changed the way it displays news.

Reach’s group revenue for the past four month was down 5.9 per cent compared with the same period last year, with digital revenue down 14.5 per cent year-on-year and with overall print revenue down by 3 per cent. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta has been turning away from news on his social media platform, ending Instant Articles, a mobile-friendly format that loads news articles on the Facebook app.

Reach said it was on track to push through cost-cutting of 5 to 6 per cent, with most savings coming through in the second half of the year.  It said:

“Our investment in the US continues to progress. We currently have almost 100 full time roles in place and expect to launch US domain websites for both The Express and Mirror over the next few months.”

However, it is now working through cutting 192 editorial roles, after putting 420 jobs at risk in the UK and Ireland, following the previous cull of 80 jobs earlier this year.

The results were announced at the group’s annual general meeting, which was attended by members of the NUJ. On his way to the event, Chris Morley, NUJ national Reach coordinator (pictured with Natasha Wynarczyk), said: “With hundreds of journalist roles being cut in recent months, today’s trading update from the company will provide no reassurance to staff that an upturn is round the corner. The NUJ will be taking its members’ views direct to the board inside today’s annual shareholders meeting in London.

"We will ensure senior executives and directors are reminded that they must be fair to all stakeholders. They must not lose sight of the value journalists bring to the company and that for the business to be sustainable, the board must nurture its journalistic talent and look beyond the market firefighting currently going on. That is why the NUJ will be raising the issue of rebuilding morale after mass job cuts, paying reasonable salaries against raging inflation, tackling the stress epidemic and the introduction of AI into mainstream journalism.”

Jim Mullen, Reach CEO, said: “External factors continue to impact digital revenue, delivery of the customer value strategy is driving a higher quality mix, underpinned by the strength of print. Our focus on data, means customers are receiving and responding more often to relevant content and a more engaging user experience. Our scale, US expansion, strategic delivery and strong balance sheet give us confidence for the future.”

Reach vows to fight ‘page view slowdown’ amid digital revenue slump

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