News giant Reach hails digital success as revenues rise and key customer registration target hit

Media giant Reach has hailed the success of its online strategy and vowed to continue investing in growth as its digital growth more than offset print decline.

Reach, whose brands range from the Mirror and the Express to Wales Online and the Manchester Evening News, reported its full year results for 2021 today.

Revenue for the year was £615.8m – up 2.6% on 2021. Adjusted operating profits rose 9.2% to £146.1m. The adjusted pre-tax profit was £143.5m, up from £131.3m in 2020.

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Group like-for-like revenue was up 1.3% – the first organic growth for some 15 years.

Group chief executive Jim Mullen said the group’s focus on customer engagement was seeing strong results, with audience, page views per visitor and loyalty all strongly ahead versus 2019.

Reach – BusinessLive’s parent company – has the biggest monthly audience of any commercial publisher, with just under 42m people visiting its sites every month. Other Reach brands include the Liverpool Echo and the Daily Record.

The group said it was on track to double digital revenue by the end of 2024.

Digital revenue for 2021 was £148.3m – up 25.4% – with digital now accounting for 24% of its revenue mix, compared to 15% in 2019.

The group also today vowed to continue to invest in long-term profit growth. But it also warned that inflation, particularly in the cost of newsprint, would have an impact on its 2022 results

Chief executive Jim Mullen said: “We’ve made significant progress as a business and I’m grateful to the whole Reach team for making 2021 such a successful year.

“We’ve completed the first phase of our Customer Value Strategy delivering a strong performance, with digital growth more than offsetting print decline.

“We’ve now hit our 10 million registrations target ahead of time and advertisers are embracing our portfolio of data-led products, which support significantly higher yields.

“Despite inflationary pressures in print, we’re committed to maintaining our focus on sustainable long-term profit growth, investing in product innovation and a more personalised user experience.

“Our strong balance sheet and cash generation underpins continued investment as we transition to an increased mix of higher quality digital earnings.”

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