Aug 29, 2018

Google and Facebook algorithm changes hit Johnston Press

Algorithm and news feed changes by Facebook and Google added to a growing list of troubles for newspaper group Johnston Press, which continues to suffer from a tough market for regional news titles. Digital advertising revenues suffered less than print, but still dropped more than 7 per cent, or 4 per cent stripping out classifieds, as the effects of news feed and algorithm adjustments by Facebook and Google fed through. Facebook reoriented its algorithms at the beginning of this year to favour personal content over third-party news, while Google changed its algorithms to comply with new European privacy regulations. Operating profits climbed, rising 50 per cent to £7.4m. Pre-tax profits were £6.2m, but that included a mark-to-market gain on the group's bond of £8.8m. Revenue from the i, acquired by Johnston in 2016, rose 18 per cent during the period - 16 per cent in circulation and 20 per cent in advertising. Johnston's shares took a 17 per cent hit in June after the company added uncertainty over paper costs and the effects of European data protection rules to its list of troubles.

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