Digital subscriber growth boosts profits at Telegraph in 2019, full-year results show

Telegraph Media Group grew its digital subscription revenues by half to £17.8m in 2019, which it says shows the success of its focus on a subscription-first strategy and investment in journalism.

Operating profit at TMG was up by 73% to £14.3m in 2019, which the company said was “driven by the growth in digital subscriptions and planned cost actions”.

Turnover fell by 5% to £263.9m in the year ending 31 December 2019, which was put down to the ongoing industry-wide decline in print advertising and newspaper circulation.

However TMG said this was “almost entirely offset” by growth in subscribers and subscription revenues.

The Telegraph’s subscribers have grown from 363,000 in December 2018 to 423,000 in December 2019. As of 8 September this year it has 522,000 subscribers who pay from £2 per week.

Average net revenue per digital subscriber grew 8% in 2019 to £99.40, which TMG chief executive Nick Hugh said could be attributed to both the volume of subscribers and price.

However the overall average revenue per subscriber grew only marginally from £191.80 to £193.90.

Hugh (pictured) said this means the company is “on track to deliver a sustainable and profitable business model”.

“This underpins our continued investment in quality journalism, something that has become ever more important in these uncertain times,” he added.

The publisher’s goal is to reach 1m subscribers by 2023, with 10m people signed up for free with an email address.

Registrations reached 5.6m in December last year, up from 3.6m the year before.

TMG’s earnings (EBITDA) grew by 38% to £23.6m.

The company has not yet published its pre-tax profits for 2019, but Press Gazette understands they represent a growth of 300% following a fall of 88% in 2018.

The company paid back all the furlough money it took from the Government earlier this year as subscription revenue made up for the drop in ad revenues and commerce sectors like travel and events.

TMG said today: “Whilst understandably cautious given the challenging trading conditions, we remain confident in our strategy and currently anticipate that the underlying profitability in 2020 will be broadly in line with 2019, despite the significant deterioration in the advertising and commerce markets.”

Picture: Telegraph

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