DMGT warns of “volatile and uncertain” ad market

Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) warns of “volatile and uncertain” market conditions that will impact on its advertising revenue after posting an 8% rise in profit for the first half of its financial year.

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Group revenue for the period was up 3% year on year to £991m for the six months to 3 April. Operating profit rose 8% to £144m.

However, the consumer division saw losses and group revenue only grew thanks to the contribution of the B2B arm.

Associated Newspapers, the division that houses the Daily Mail and Metro, saw revenue drop 2% to £438m. Operating profit rose 18% due to a reduction in headcount and cost cutting.

Digital revenue from the newspapers’ companion sites increased by 50% to £8m. The MailOnline attracted 66 million unique visitors to its site in March.

At DMGT’s regional arm, Northcliffe Media, revenue dropped 9% to £120m and operating profit fell 35% £8m, on the back of an accelerated decline in advertising. Former Metro managing director Steve Auckland has just taken over the division.

Chief executive Martin Morgan says: “We remain cautious about the outlook for the first full year due to the volatile and uncertain market conditions faced by our consumer businesses, where advertising revenues for April and the first three weeks of May have been below last year.”

He adds that due to new product development, operating efficiencies and the growth of its business-to-business operations the group still expects to achieve growth for the full financial year.

DMGT’s B2B arm increased operating profits by 10% to £110m.

Rival newspaper group Trinity Mirror reported a 10% dip in ad revenue for the 17 weeks to 1 May. Digital revenues dropped 9%, partly due to the continued decline in income from its Bingo site.

Trinity Mirror appointed former IGN Entertainment and MySpace executive Chris Ellis to grow the publisher’s digital portfolio and turn around its revenues.

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