Profits at Daily Mail and General Trust‘s Northcliffe regional newspapers division halved to £4m in the first half of this year.
But there was better news for Mail Online, the Daily Mail website, where its 66 million monthly browsers (ABC) helped the national newspapers division to a 50 per cent rise in digital revenue to £8m for the six months to 3 April. Digital does however still remain a tiny proportion of total revenue for DMGT‘s national titles.
Overal DMGT reported revenue for the period up 3 per cent year on year to £991m and operating profit up 8 per cent to £144m – largely fuelled by its business to business interests.
Circulation revenue from Associated’s newspaper operations fell 2 per cent to £171 million but advertising revenue was up 2 per cent to £183m, which the company said was largely driven by the strength of Metro and Mail Online. It also said that its figures were helped by staff cuts, reduced promotional spending and the sale of loss-making businesses.
DMGT’s regional press division Northcliffe saw its operating profits halve year on year from £8m to £4m, as revenue fell 9 per cent to £120m. Advertising revenue fell 9 per cent to £85m and digital revenues were down 2 per cent to £9m, despite growing online visitor numbers fuelled by the launch of 75 ‘Local People’ ultra local websites since March 2010.
DMGT chief executive Martin Morgan said: ‘Our UK consumer businesses have increased operating margin mainly through operating efficiencies and both the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday have again improved their market share of circulation.
‘Despite continuing momentum within our B2B operations, we remain cautious about the outlook for the full year due to the volatile and uncertain market conditions faced by our UK consumer businesses, where advertising revenues for April and the first three weeks of May have been below last year.
‘We are therefore remaining focused on driving sustainable organic growth through new product development and investments, while continuing to seek operational efficiency and to reduce debt. Overall, we still expect to achieve growth for the full financial year compared to last year.”