Change was firmly on the agenda at the Archant Annual General Meeting held at the John Innes Centre near Norwich earlier today, with an emphasis on facing the challenges of changing technology, audience needs and developing products, along with a change of chairman after 17 years.
Addressing his final AGM, chairman Richard Jewson reflected that the Group has made good progress in 2013 despite continuing to deal with the challenges of technological change facing the media industry.
Richard reported on an increase of 49.2% in operating profit to £9.4m, reduced net debt and revenue for the year at £126.6m, down 3.6% on 2012.
He also said that an average of 5.6m people visit an Archant website every month and there were over 300,000 downloads of Archant apps.
Chief executive, Adrian Jeakings (pictured above) then addressed the meeting, talking about the Group’s strategy.
“The needs of our audiences are changing and we are changing to meet those needs. We continue to improve our traditional media products whilst developing new digital assets to serve those in the communities that we serve who prefer their content online.
“This year we will upgrade our websites to a new fully responsive platform, launch a new range of title-based apps and implement a new digital marketing hub for email newsletters and social media. And, of course, we have already launched Mustard TV serving people in and around Norwich.
“Our clients’ needs are also changing and we are adapting our products and services to better meet those needs. In 2014, we will introduce a number of new products and services into our toolkit as well as launching a new bespoke integrated marketing service for larger regional clients under the Archant Dialogue banner,” said Adrian.
On the matter of press regulation, Adrian said: “We expect the new regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) to start work in June. The vast majority of regional and national newspaper industry, including Archant, and much of the magazine industry have signed up to IPSO, or have indicated that they will.
“IPSO will provide independent regulation of the press and will have powers to levy substantial fines for those that systematically abuse the code of behaviour. To quote Lord Leveson ‘By far the best solution to press standards would be a body, established and organised by the industry, which would provide genuinely independent regulation of its members…’. I believe that that is what we will get with IPSO.”
You can read the full Archant Annual Report online at www.archant.co.uk/investors
© Archant Ltd 2013