Mail Online half-year revenue grows to £36m - but is outpaced by decline on print titles

Daily Mail publisher DMG Media has reported an operating profit of £57m, up 13 per cent, for the first half of 2015.

This was achieved despite revenue falling by 6 per cent from £399m in the first half of 2014 to £374m.

DMG Media comprises: the national Mail titles, free daily Metro, Mail Online, house-buying website Zoopla and vouchers website Wowcher.

Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday revenue fell by 6 per cent from £278m to £260m as the newspapers’ circulations and advertising revenue dropped.

But Mail Online’s revenue is reported to have increased by 20 per cent, from £30m to £36m.

The operating profit of the Mail businesses (Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Mail Online) was up 21 per cent, from £38m to £46m.

The Metro newspaper’s revenue increased from £38m to £39m. The operating profit of Metro, which is counted along with 7 Days, Wowcher and US website Elite Daily – which was purchased by the group in January – was up from £7m to £10m in the six months.

The overall revenue decline of 6 per cent was put down to the disposal of DMG Media’s digital recruitment business, Evenbase, in 2014.

Underlying advertising revenues increased by 2 per cent, with the rise in digital across the group outweighing declines in print.

Across the Mail titles, print advertising revenue fell by 8 per cent and circulation revenue by 4 per cent. However, this was “partly offset” by a 20 per cent revenue growth for Mail Online – and a 20 per cent advertising revenue growth. Across the three titles, advertising revenues were £131m.

The half-year report said that Mail Online “continues to grow strongly”, noting that it recorded 226m unique monthly users in March 2015, up 26 per cent year on year.

It said: “The business continues to invest in growing its US revenues and audience, with several initiatives to strengthen advertiser relationships and channel partnerships successfully implemented.”

The report also revealed that the group purchased US news and entertainment website Elite Daily in January. It said: “The business is still relatively small and is expected to make a small loss this year.  The site attracted 3.5 million average daily unique browsers during March 2015, more than double the daily average in March 2014, and is particularly popular with readers in the 18 to 34 age range. 

“Elite Daily will continue to operate as a separate business, but the acquisition is expected to strengthen MailOnline's offering to US-based advertising buyers due to the increased scale and breadth of the combined audience.”

The report said that Metro had delivered a “strong performance” in print advertising, with revenues growing by 4 per cent to £39m.

Overall, parent company DMGT reported a half-year operating profit of £150m, down 6 per cent from £160m. Its revenue is reported to be £922m, down 1 per cent from £931m.

Read the full half-year report here.

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