Tele­graph reaches 522,000 sub­scribers as prof­its surge

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Daily Tele­graph Re­porters

TELE­GRAPH ME­DIA GROUP has reached a record 522,000 pay­ing sub­scribers to its dig­i­tal and print jour­nal­ism.

Dig­i­tal sub­scrip­tion growth in­creased dra­mat­i­cally dur­ing the first eight months of the year, driven by strong in­ter­est in coro­n­avirus cov­er­age, ac­cord­ing to a trad­ing up­date from the com­pany that pub­lishes The Daily Tele­graph, The Sun­day Tele­graph and Tele­graph.co.uk.

The mile­stone of 500,000 pay­ing sub­scribers was passed in May and the to­tal as of Sept 8 was 522,000 – a 23.4pc growth rate for the year to date.

Sub­scribers in­creased by 60,000 (16.4pc) from 363,000 in De­cem­ber 2018 to 423,000 by De­cem­ber last year. The com­pany now has 6.8m reg­is­tered users, up from 3.6m in De­cem­ber 2018.

Nick Hugh, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tele­graph Me­dia Group, said: “2019 rep­re­sented an­other suc­cess­ful year for TMG as we con­tin­ued our trans­for­ma­tion to a sub­scrip­tion-first busi­ness. Our sub­stan­tial and con­sis­tent sub­scrip­tion growth has con­tin­ued into 2020, with the im­por­tant mile­stone of 500,000 sub­scribers sur­passed in May 2020.”

Dig­i­tal sub­scrip­tion rev­enues in­creased by 48.9pc to £17.8m in 2019, with av­er­age net rev­enue per dig­i­tal sub­scriber up 7.6pc to £99.40.

Av­er­age rev­enue per sub­scriber reached £193.90 as of De­cem­ber 2019, up from £191.80 a year ear­lier. Sub­scrip­tion

rev­enues are also expected to grow strongly in 2020.

Op­er­at­ing profit be­fore ex­cep­tional items in­creased to £14.3m in 2019, up from £8.3m in 2018, driven by the growth in dig­i­tal sub­scrip­tions and cost re­duc­tions in non-ed­i­to­rial ar­eas.

Earn­ings be­fore in­ter­est, tax, de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­sa­tion pre-ex­cep­tional items in­creased to £23.6m in 2019, up from £17.2m in the pre­vi­ous year. The com­pany has con­tin­ued to invest in jour­nal­ism, tech­nol­ogy plat­forms and dig­i­tal op­er­a­tions as part of its “Sub­scriber First Strat­egy”.

Mr Hugh added: “With av­er­age rev­enue per sub­scriber also con­tin­u­ing to in­crease in line with our plan, we re­main 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.”

Turnover was £263.9m for the year ended De­cem­ber 2019, down from £278m in 2018, re­flect­ing the con­tin­ued in­dus­try-wide struc­tural de­cline in print ad­ver­tis­ing and news­pa­per cir­cu­la­tion.

The busi­ness has proven re­silient and suc­cess­fully main­tained all cus­tomer op­er­a­tions through the Covid-19 cri­sis, the com­pany said.

The Tele­graph has re­paid all fur­lough monies ini­tially taken as part of the Gov­ern­ment’s Coro­n­avirus Jobs Re­ten­tion Scheme and has not needed to ac­cess gov­ern­ment loan schemes.

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