UK news publisher Reach says war in Ukraine hits advertising demand

LONDON, May 5 (Reuters) – Britain’s newspaper publisher Reach (RCH.L) said advertiser demand had plummeted over the past two months as brands sought to avoid placing adverts next to content about the war in Ukraine, hitting digital growth.

The owner of the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and a series of regional titles said it was also trying to mitigate the impact of newsprint inflation due to rising paper costs and energy.

In the four months to April 24, he said print advertising revenue was down 10.1%.

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While digital revenue grew 9.3% year-on-year, compared to a 25.4% increase for the whole of 2021.

“Over the past two months, the market has seen declining demand from advertisers and declining average returns, as the war in Ukraine significantly reduced the level of ‘brand safe’ content for news publishers” , the group said.

Reach is relying on the growth of digital readers to offset the long-term trend of declining print sales, and it has more than 10 million registered users for its news sites who can be targeted by advertisers. .

Its shares, which have fallen sharply since hitting a 14-year high last August, were trading down more than 14% in Thursday’s first trades.

Reach said that for the coming year, he still expects overall stable group revenue, albeit with a higher broadcast revenue mix and lower than expected digital contribution.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February impacted everything from the cost of grain to energy, other commodities and consumer confidence.

Google’s YouTube said in April that its ad sales were hit by the dispute after it halted sales in Russia and brand advertisers, particularly in Europe, cut spending. Read more

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Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Paul Sandle

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