Scotland business

i paper helps stem Johnston Press sales decline

pile of newspapers Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Edinburgh-based publisher Johnston Press publishes about 200 titles across the UK

The growth of the i title has helped drive a rise in sales for Edinburgh-based newspaper publisher Johnston Press.

Sales in September of the compact, which costs 50p, were up 4% to an average 290,000 per day.

However, revenue for the group, which also publishes The Scotsman, fell 3% between July and October when compared with the same period last year.

The figures came on top of a 9% fall in revenue for the first half of 2016.

The growth of the i resulted in the title taking a 20% share of the so-called "quality segment" of Britain's newspaper market.

Activist investor

Without the i, the figures fell more sharply, with revenues down 16% in the past three months.

Advertising revenue without the new title was also down 12%, while circulation revenue dropped by 10%.

Digital advertising, seen as a way of replacing declining revenue from paper sales, fell during the summer-autumn period by 3%.

Despite the figures, Johnston Press saw its share price rise slightly to 14p.

It has fallen from 66p a year ago, and fell below 9p before a surge in September, when an activist investor became involved in moves to change the publisher's strategy.

Last month, it announced a deal with creditors to change the conditions on some of its borrowing, giving it more time to raise finance by selling assets.

That is expected to include newspaper titles.

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