Reach has announced that revenue fell by 17.5% to £290.8m in the half-year ended 28 June, 2020, following the impact of the pandemic.
Nonetheless, the newspaper publisher reported “strong” recovery in digital advertising and increased customer engagement across all channels, reporting year-on-year digital revenue growth of 12.9% in the third quarter.
It added that “effective” strategic and operational delivery resulted in over 3.5 milllion customer registrations, with new platforms driving “record” digital audiences and increased page views.
The group has also reduced its cost base by “at least” £35m in the period, due to a transformation programme across editorial, advertising and central operations.
In its latest update, the publisher said it was currently “performing materially ahead of market expectations” for the full year , whilst noting that the crisis still “represents a significant macro-economic challenge to the UK economy, with the potential for subsequent negative impacts on the business”.
Jim Mullen, CEO Reach plc, said: “We have seen a strong recovery in the digital advertising market since the worst impacts of COVID-19 in April which has driven a return to healthy digital revenue growth since July, assisted by increased customer engagement and loyalty.
“This illustrates the significant potential of the customer value strategy as our websites, apps and newsletters attract increased page views from our scale audience, helping to drive forward digital revenues.”
He added: “Circulation sales have also stabilised and shown a gradual recovery during Q2 and Q3. Award-winning journalism and content enable our news brands to shape the daily conversations of millions of people.
“Moving forward we will see continued momentum from new and improved products. Our strengthened customer insight and innovation teams will assist us in driving stronger and deeper customer relationships, increasing our appeal to advertisers and driving revenue growth.”