Daily Mail profits up despite falling ad sales

23-11-2006

Daily Mail profits up despite falling ad sales
Daily Mail and General Trust, publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper, has announced a nine per cent rise in full year pre-tax profits following strong growth within its online and business-to-business divisions.

The company said that adjusted pre-tax profits for the year ending October 1st rose to £260 million, up from £237 million a year ago and exceeding expectations.

In a statement, the Daily Mail and General Trust said that its newspaper titles had "performed creditably under difficult trading conditions", with advertising revenues across both its national and regional publications continuing to fall.

Across its national group, Associated Newspapers, print advertising revenues were down six per cent to £436 million, although the Metro, the company's free publication aimed at commuters, bucked the trend, achieving an increase of over eight per cent.

Nonetheless, the Daily Mail and General Trust remained optimistic about its future outlook, concluding: "The new financial year has started well with signs of a gentle recovery in some sectors of the national advertising market with our national titles producing strong circulation results in an ever-competitive market."

Overall operating profits for Associated Newspapers rose to £97 million over the year, up from £95.9 million in the year previously, while overall circulation revenues were reported to be two per cent higher.

The Daily Mail increased its market share to 19.7 per cent over the period, a 0.5 per cent rise which its owners claimed represented the highest growth of any national title in the UK.

The Daily Mail and General Trust acknowledged that its regional unit Northcliffe had not seen advertising revenues improve much over the year, but stressed that continued falls had been offset by cost reductions.

Meanwhile, the newspaper group said that expanding the digital operations of its newspaper titles remained a "high priority" for the group.

In total, revenues from Associated Newspaper's digital operations doubled to £55 million over the year, with growth excluding acquisitions "still a healthy 29 per cent".

The Daily Mail and General Trust said that the unit's websites had contributed £13 million to operating profits.


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