The publisher of the Mirror, Express and Daily Star newspapers has blamed changes in the way Facebook displays news content for a drop in its digital revenue.
Reach, which also owns hundreds of regional newspapers including the Birmingham Mail, Liverpool Echo and Manchester Evening News, reported a drop in group revenue of almost 6% for the four months to April 23.
It previously announced plans to cut hundreds more jobs amid a £30m cost-cutting campaign as it battles higher costs resulting from inflation and disappointing advertising sales.
The newspaper group, which owns a network of regionally focused news websites including Glasgow Live and Hampshire Live, said it had experienced a slowdown in the number of page views by online readers, with changes in the presentation of news from Facebook that reduced traffic to their sites. .
Reach’s digital revenue has plunged nearly 15% since January and it warned of a challenging environment for digital advertising. However, she said her print revenue remained strong and that she had continued to sell “robust” amounts of newspapers.
The company said print circulation revenue rose 2% during the period as it benefited from the higher prices it charges for its newspapers that were introduced last year. Print advertising slightly exceeded expectations.
Jim Mullen, CEO of Reach, said: “External factors continue to impact digital revenue, the delivery of customer value strategy is driving a higher quality mix, supported by the strength of print.
“Our focus on data means customers receive and respond to relevant content more frequently and a more engaging user experience.”
Reach, which will hold its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, said it was continuing with plans to reduce its operating costs by 5-6% this year, adding that its actions to do so were “well advanced”.
The publisher warned in March that up to 420 employees could face redundancy as part of its cost-cutting plans, including 192 journalists, just weeks after announcing it was cutting 200 jobs.
Reach added that it was continuing its investment in a digital operation to tap into the US market and had nearly 100 full-time employees ahead of the launch of US websites for Mirror and Express in the coming months.