The publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper reported a 23% plunge in annual profits today, but said its flagship title had the second best year in its history.
Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) posted underlying profits of £201m (€220m) for the year to October 4 – down from £262m (€287m) after it was hit by the steep slump in advertising revenues amid the recession.
But its Daily Mail title bucked the wider gloom in the industry, with adjusted profits maintained at the second highest level on record for the newspaper.
This helped its Associated Newspaper national arm achieve a “very satisfactory result”, according to DMGT, although revenues slid 11% and earnings dropped 15%.
DMGT said it saw more stable conditions in the last six months of the year, which combined with cost cutting to deliver a “sharp improvement” in UK consumer business second half profits.
The group, which also owns around 100 regional titles, has axed jobs and slashed costs across its operations, in line with similar action across an embattled UK media sector.
DMGT also sold a 75% stake in its loss-making London title the Evening Standard earlier this year for a nominal sum and later shut its freesheet London Lite following the Standard’s move to go free.
In another sign of the industry’s woes, DMGT is closing its hard-hit Teletext news and information service in January next year – two years ahead of schedule due to the economic conditions.