It’s time for symmetries across the movement, Elaine Dean, chair of Co-operative Press told delegates at the annual general meeting (AGM). She encouraged co-operators to “be stronger together”.
“What we write isn’t our content, it’s your content. Whatever we write about, it’s about the movement,” she said. The magazine reported a deficit of £12,769 in the year ending February 2015. The loss occurred in the context of an attempt to diversify the business with reductions across the sector, explained executive editor Anthony Murray.
Co-operative News has increased sales from £148,932 in 2014 to £174,569 for the year ending February 2015. Turnover resulting from advertising and sponsorship has decreased from £173,518 in 2014 to £69,690 in 2015. The magazine reduced its printing costs from £94,022 to £81,987.
The year also marked the launch of six new UK and international partnerships for Co-operative News, exceeding its target of creating two new partnerships. Reader satisfaction also went up to 78.95% for the print issue and 79.18% for the digital platform. The magazine registered a 20.17% increase in readership in 2014.
“Given the transitional nature these are extremely acceptable results for our society,” said board member Richard Bickle. He added that in the previous year the publication had booked exceptional income associated with the International Year of Co-operatives.
“We are now in the fifth year of on-going pressure … building relationships is becoming more difficult, but monetising them is even more difficult,” he said.
Also speaking at the AGM, deputy editor Rebecca Harvey gave delegates an insight into the magazine’s social media strategy. Website visits increased by 33.41% in 2014 to 248,967. The number of social media followers also increased for Twitter (from 7,692 to 10,065) and Facebook (from 6,756 to 7,605).
“This is your co-operative news – through social media we can retweet it, share it, have conversations with other co-operators. It’s a two-way connection,” said Ms Harvey.