Daily Mirror owner Reach sees another hit from social media news de-ranking

2 May 2024, 10:54

Daily Mirror
Reach financials. Picture: PA

Reach said page views plunged by a third year-on-year in the first quarter, with overall digital revenues down by 8.5%.

Daily Mirror publisher Reach has revealed a further hit to online revenues due to the ongoing fallout from moves by the likes of Facebook to de-rank news on its platforms.

The group – which also owns the Express newspapers, the Daily Star and regional newspapers across the UK – revealed that page views plunged by a third year-on-year in the first quarter after “major platforms” de-prioritised news last year.

Overall, digital revenues fell 8.5% in the first three months of 2024, although this was better than the 14.2% fall seen in the previous quarter.

Firms such as Facebook owner Meta moved last year to prioritise user-generated content above news on their social media sites, which has hit traditional media groups hard.

But Reach said the impact was partially offset in the first quarter by strengthening yield per page, while it said the year-on-year fall in so-called referral traffic from social media platforms will also “lessen as we progress through the year”.

The group’s update showed overall group revenues fell 6.7%, with print revenues down by 6%.

It said sales from newspaper circulation was proving a “predictable and reliable revenue stream”, with turnover down by a more muted 3.4% after it hiked cover prices.

Advertising revenues for its print titles remained under pressure, down 10.7% in the quarter.

But the group stuck by its guidance for underlying full-year earnings of £97.6 million, up from £96.5 million in 2023.

Shares in the group lifted 9% in Thursday morning trading.

Reach is cutting costs in the face of trading pressures, having reduced the number of workers it employed last year by 14%.

It also cut production volumes of newsprint as part of efforts to make savings and said in its latest update that it was “confident” in delivering its target to reduce costs by 5% to 6%.

Jim Mullen, chief executive of Reach, said cost cutting moves were “driving results”.

He added: “This gives me confidence that we can continue to navigate current market conditions.

“With events like the European Football Championships, Olympics and elections round the corner we have the opportunity to generate high levels of interest by entertaining and informing our audiences.”

By Press Association

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