Newspaper group hit by advertising slowdown

Media giant Daily Mail and General Trust today said its UK titles had been hit by an “unprecedented” advertising slowdown as it revealed a 47% slump in half-year group profits.

Media giant Daily Mail and General Trust today said its UK titles had been hit by an “unprecedented” advertising slowdown as it revealed a 47% slump in half-year group profits.

The firm – which owns the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and a clutch of regional publications in its Northcliffe division – made pre-tax profits of £77m (€88m) in the six months to March 29, compared with £144m (€165m) in the same period last year.

DMGT chief executive Martin Morgan said the result had been “badly affected” by recession-hit consumer media advertising revenues.

While the firm warned of “little visibility” on UK advertising revenue, it said it had seen some improvement in April and May.

In March, DMGT announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs at Northcliffe this year - double the number estimated a few months before – and today it said 500 had already gone.

Circulation at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday fell by 5.8% and 5.6% respectively in the half year, but DMGT said the decline was down to a move away from CD and DVD promotions as the newspapers look to attract more long-term readers.

The group said the new strategy was successful, but would be a “gradual process”.

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