UK news publisher Reach says war in Ukraine is hitting advertising demand and digital growth

UK news publisher Reach said advertiser demand had plummeted over the past two months as brands sought to avoid placing ads alongside 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.

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

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

“Over the past two months, the market has seen declining advertiser demand and declining average returns, with the war in
Ukraine is dramatically reducing the level of “brand-safe” content for news publishers,” the group said.

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.

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