Daily Mail publisher reveals tough trading

THE PUBLISHER of the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday revealed further tough trading at its national newspapers after advertising revenues fell by £19 million.

Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) warned in July that a difficult print advertising market would hit full-year profits after a 15 per cent plunge in ad sales at the two newspapers in its third quarter to the end of June.

The latest update showed ad sales continued to come under pressure over the summer, down 11 per cent or £19 million in the first 11 months of its financial year to the end of August.

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DMGT said even a strong performance at its MailOnline arm - where ad sales leapt 16 per cent or £9 million higher in the year to date - only partly offset tough print newspaper trading.

It also saw further falls in circulation, with sales down 4 per cent, although it said both Mail titles increased their market share, despite a 10p hike in cover price to £1.60 at the Mail on Sunday in April.

The revenue and circulation declines left overall sales across the Mail business 5 per cent lower over the first 11 months to the end of August, while its wider dmg media division, which holds the Mail business as well as the Metro free-sheet, saw underlying turnover fall 3 per cent.

Group-wide underlying revenues remained flat as dmg media’s woes were offset by better trading in its other divisions, including dmg events and its business-to-business operation.

But there was a glimmer of light for its newspaper business as dmg media saw underlying advertising revenues rise by 5 per cent in the four weeks since August 23.

Shares edged 1 per cent higher.

Media experts at Liberum said the recent pick-up in revenues at dmg media was a “positive”, adding it comes after a major advertising push by BT and Sky surrounding the Champions League launch.

Supermarket promotions amid the sector’s fierce price war are also said to have buoyed recent figures.

But Liberum said woes at DMGT’s Euromoney business - accounting for nearly a quarter of group profits - may disappoint.

DMGT said Euromoney Institutional Investor faces “challenging market conditions, particularly in the investment banking sector”.