DMGT bullish de­spite slump in ad­ver­tis­ing and cir­cu­la­tion

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Chris John­ston and Alan Tovey

PRINT ad­ver­tis­ing sank more than two thirds in the three months to the end of June, the pub­lisher of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sun­day said, un­der­lin­ing the im­pact of the pan­demic on the news­pa­per owner.

Daily Mail and Gen­eral Trust (DMGT) said dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enues were also down 17pc in the quar­ter, mean­ing a 45pc de­cline for ad sales over­all. The com­pany, which also owns the

Metro and i news­pa­pers, re­ported an un­der­ly­ing 44pc slide in op­er­at­ing profit to £63m for the nine months, with a £2m loss for the three months to June – down from a £22m profit in the same pe­riod last year. Rev­enues fell 23pc to £241m in the quar­ter.

How­ever, DMGT said the news­pa­per di­vi­sion and all busi­nesses ex­cept for its events arm were prof­itable in June, help­ing send shares 3.3pc higher. News­pa­per cir­cu­la­tion fell 12pc in the three months to June, with the Metro ti­tle suf­fer­ing a slide of about 75pc as com­muters stayed off pub­lic trans­port.

DMGT said: “Since March, the im­pact of Covid-19 has re­sulted in a pro­nounced re­duc­tion in ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enues across both print and dig­i­tal for­mats. Growth in on­line traf­fic has helped to mit­i­gate the im­pact on dig­i­tal but not enough to com­pen­sate for the over­all re­duc­tion in ad­ver­tis­ing spend.”

Group un­der­ly­ing rev­enues fell 23pc in the quar­ter to June and were 7pc lower for the nine months, DMGT said in its trad­ing up­date.

Mean­while Relx, the FTSE 100 busi­ness in­for­ma­tion pub­lisher and con­fer­ence group, also re­ported a plunge in rev­enue and prof­its af­ter coron­avirus caused can­cel­la­tions of events. The firm for­merly known as Reed El­se­vier said sales for the six months to the end of June fell 10pc to £3.5bn and pre-tax prof­its crashed by a quar­ter to £858m.

Relx’s con­fer­ence oper­a­tion is the small­est part of its busi­ness, mak­ing up about 16pc of sales, but has long been a steady profit pro­ducer. Shares fell 3.6pc to £17. Relx main­tained the in­terim div­i­dend of 13.6p.

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