Mail titles return to profit in June after seeing 45% drop in ad revenue during lockdown

The Mail titles returned to profit in June but saw revenue down 30% in the second quarter of the year.

Advertising in DMGT’s consumer media division was down 45% in the three months to 30 June and circulation revenue was down 12%. DMGT’s consumer media titles comprise: the i, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Metro and Mail Online.

The lockdown has been particularly tough on free title Metro which has seen circulation fall to a quarter of its normal level of 1.3m per day.

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DMGT said it remains “confident in the future growth opportunities at Mail Online, driven by increased engagement with the direct audience”.

Mail Online reported average daily unique browsers to its website of 17.4m in the nine months to 30 June, up 37% year on year. The “direct” audience was said to account for 79% of minutes spent on the site (this is defined as readers who come straight to the site, rather than those who find it via search or social media).

Overall DMGT has reported group revenue down 7% overall for the year at £934m and down 23% to £241m for the three months to the end of June. It made an operating loss of £2m in the period, versus £22m profit in the same period a year earlier.

Events and exhibitions took the biggest hit in the second quarter of 2020, with revenue down 94%. DMGT said that subscriptions continue to grow for its B2B businesses.

DMGT said that all its businesses (bar events) operated profitably in June 2020. It reported adjusted operating profit for the nine months to the end of June of £63m.

In terms of outlook it said in the trading update: “DMGT’s businesses are positioned to respond to market conditions as lockdown restrictions change and each has a plan for the different scenarios that could occur. At this stage, the outlook for the group remains uncertain and suspension of formal guidance continues.”

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