Trinity Mirror reports improved circulation and ad revenue

Trinity Mirror has reported digital revenues in its national newspaper division to have almost doubled in the past five months and advertising income up more than five per cent in the same period.

In a trading update three weeks before the company’s financial year comes to an end, the Daily Mirror publisher said: “The advertising environment in 2007 improved on previous years. However, month-on-month, volatility remains and we expect this to continue in 2008. The board is confident that our 2007 performance will be in line with expectations.”

Although group-wide advertising revenue has grown 2.1 per cent since this summer, a poor performance in the first half of the year meant Trinity’s ad revenues over the course of the year were up just 0.1 per cent. This excludes the Racing Post and the regional titles that the company sold this year as part of a strategic review.

National newspaper advertising income has risen by 5.6 per cent since July – and is up one per cent since January.

Despite a year-on-year ABC circulation decline for the Daily Mirror and fierce cost-cutting in London and the south-east by red-top rival The Sun, national circulation revenues grew by 0.9 per cent in the 11 months to the end of November.

The biggest growth area was digital – up 98.5 per cent at the nationals division since this summer. Overall group digital revenues for 2007 are up 28.7 per cent over the course of the year.

Regional advertising revenue was up 0.6 per cent in the second half of the year – compared with a one per cent decline in the first half.

Regional digital revenue has grown by 27 per cent in the five months from July to the end of November.

Earlier this year, Trinity Mirror shelved plans to sell its regional newspapers in the Midlands and the south-east, after they failed to attract the right price.

The group did, however, succeed in selling 27 titles around London, Essex and Hertfordshire to Tindle Newspapers for £18.75m; 14 papers in Berkshire to the Dunfermline Press for £10m; and 25 titles in Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Dorset to Northcliffe for £64m.

Trinity’s end-of-year results are due to be published at the end of February. Shares in the company opened this morning down 0.8 per cent to 340.5p, valuing the publisher at £1bn.

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