Johnston Press hails record growth for i newspaper

Johnston Press said the EU referendum had helped boost sales. Picture: TSPL
Johnston Press said the EU referendum had helped boost sales. Picture: TSPL
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Media group Johnston Press today said the newest addition to its stable has continued to attract more readers since its acquisition in April.

The Edinburgh-based owner of The Scotsman said that growth for the i newspaper, bought from ESI Media for £24 million, had been ahead of its expectations, with daily circulation consistently above 300,000 and peaking at 319,000 on Friday 1 July.

In addition, advertising revenues for the title have hit their highest levels since its acquisition, said Johnston Press, which also owns the Edinburgh Evening News, Scotland on Sunday, Yorkshire Post and scores of local newspapers and websites.

It added: “These figures show a further increase from the week of the referendum, indicating a continued desire for impartial and informative journalism, highlighting the vital role that newspapers play around major milestones for the country.”

READ MORE: Johnston Press hails ‘exciting’ i deal as profits jump

The group also reported record traffic for inews.co.uk, rising above one million page views per week for the first time since the website went live.

“Since the website was only launched ten weeks ago on 14 April, management are encouraged by this strong start,” the firm added.

“Notwithstanding the referendum, which has evidently been beneficial for newspaper groups in general, i’s circulation and readership has steadily increased under the ownership of Johnston Press and editorship of Oliver Duff. By comparison, during the month immediately prior to the acquisition, i had an average audited circulation of 270,182.”

Analysts at Liberum, which has a “buy” rating on the group’s shares, said: “At the i’s acquisition less than a quarter ago, the newspaper had no online presence. In less than ten weeks Johnston Press managed, not only to build a website from scratch, but also to break the one million page view per week barrier. The website’s highest daily audience was reached on Sunday 26 June with 434,431 page views.”

Last week, Johnston Press struck a deal to sell its titles on the Isle of Man – comprising the Isle of Man Examiner, Isle of Man Courier and Manx Independent – to Tindle Newspapers for £4.25m in cash.