Northcliffe tells City: 'Digital publishing is key'

Daily Mail and General Trust is making a presentation to City analysts this afternoon on its regional newspaper publishing division Northcliffe Media Group.

NMG managing director Michael Pelosi and DMGT finance director Peter Williams will speak about the challenges facing the company’s regional papers and its plans for profit growth.

Pelosi will say that NMG is a ‘revitalised business’operating on a ‘much-reduced cost base’with a ‘renewed sense of purpose”.

‘We are aware of our key challenges. We must deliver local audiences if we are to achieve profitable revenue growth. Digital publishing has a key role to play here,’he is expected to say.

‘Northcliffe is now an integrated local media publisher. Online, we are getting better by the day…But we still recognise the huge value of print and we will launch selectively where market opportunities present themselves.”

DMGT will announce that for the 12 months up to 30 September this year, Nothcliffe will report revenues of £448 million, a rise of 6.9 per cent, and operating profit of £92.5 million, a rise of 18 per cent. The figures are before deductions.

After the release of a DMGT trading statement in September stockbroker UBS warned that the company was lacking ‘strategic focus’and kept its investment advice to ‘sell”.

In the same week Morgan Stanley lowered its earnings per share forecast for the company by seven per cent and its target valuation by six per cent to 780 pence – due to the regional newspaper market overall falling 16 per cent in three months.

NMG publishes 18 daily papers including the Hull Daily Mail and the Nottingham Evening Post, as well as 29 paid-for weeklies and 62 free weeklies.

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