Daily Record publisher bullish, despite profit and ad revenue drops

THE publisher of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail newspapers – plus various Scottish local titles, as part of the Scottish & Universal Newspapers group – was yesterday in bullish mood despite its latest financial results showing a fall in profit and advertising revenue.

In an interim financial statement, for the first half of this year, Trinity Mirror revealed that its group revenue was down to £383 million, from £460 million the same time last year, with its operating profit similarly hit: down to £49.1 million, from £80.5 million 12 months ago. Even its digital revenue was down.

But on the back of having cut costs by £46 million and its debt by £13.8 million, to £370 million, it was relatively optimistic about its prospects.

It said, in its statement: “Focused and decisive management action has ensured that profitability has been protected. Targeted cost savings and an embedded culture of ongoing cost mitigation measures across the entire organisation have resulted in a substantial reduction in costs.”

It continued: “While advertising revenues have fallen to unprecedented levels due to the downturn, we have seen a marginal improvement in the rate of decline as we progressed through the period and this is expected to continue for the remainder of the year.

“Our advertising performance for the regional [newspaper sector] is in line with the market and we have been able to grow market share of advertising for each of our UK national newspapers.”

Accompanying the drop in advertising revenue, newspaper sales were also down.

The statment outlined some of the cost-cutting measures it has enacted, including the closure of “unprofitable weekly newspapers” and “further roll out of our new operating model across editorial, advertising and production enabling more efficient publishing and the removal of obsolete processes”, and a recruitment and salary freeze.

The Daily Telegraph reported (here) Trinity Mirror’s chief executive, Sly Bailey, saying there are signs the newspaper advertising market has bottomed: “It would appear that we are bumping along at the bottom.”

Yesterday ended with Trinity Mirror’s share price up 12.6 per cent, to 80.5p, from 72.75p at the start of the day.

Read the statement, here.