The owner of the Daily Mail said today that lower advertising revenues at its national newspapers arm squeezed profits in the first half of its financial year.
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) saw a 3% decline in like-for-like advertising revenues at Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Mail Online and Metro, in the six months to March 31.
DMGT shares fell 4% as it warned that lower profits from Associated, due in part to reduced advertising revenues and higher print and promotion costs, would weigh on the group’s half-year performance, although it reassured that the whole-year outlook was unchanged.
The group’s business-to-business division, which includes publications such as Euromoney Institutional Investor and makes up the bulk of the group, recorded 8% like-for-like sales growth.
Associated saw circulation revenues grow 4% on a like-for-like basis as it benefited from the impact of increased cover prices at the Daily Mail and continued market-share improvement.
The decline in advertising sales at Associated was driven by print publications, which fell 10%, while the Mail Online saw advertising revenues surge 69%. The publisher also reported an improvement in March with ad revenues increasing 1%.
Regional arm Northcliffe Media, which publishes 120 titles, saw like-for-like advertising revenues drop 7%, while underlying circulation revenues increased 2% as it also benefited from cover price increases.
DMGT said the number of staff across Associated and Northcliffe declined by 593 or 9% to 6,280 in the period.
The group expects to report exceptional costs for the half year of around £40m, mainly in Associated and Northcliffe, which will include reorganisation costs relating to the move of printing facilities to Thurrock, in Essex in England.