Shares in the publisher of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail newspapers rose 32 per cent yesterday after the publisher said its acquisition of Guardian Media Group’s regional operations – including the Manchester Evening News – was already paying off.
According to half-year results, pre-tax profits for the first half of this year (adjusted to take into account were up to 50.4 million – compared to £31.3 million for the 26 weeks up to the middle of last year.
And as Trinity Mirror’s share price soared, its chief executive, Sly Bailey, was reported dismissing any threat to the Daily Mirror circulation following the Daily Star cutting its cover price, at the start of the month to 10p in England (it still sells at 20p in Scotland).
Bailey is quoted in mediaguardian, saying: “The fact is that the Star is only worth 10p.” She is further reported saying the Daily Mirror, which is priced at 45p (the Daily Record is 40p), was not seen as a competitor to the Daily Star by consumers as it was considered a much higher-quality read.
The quote continues: “There has been a minimal impact on the Daily Mirror's sale – less than 2000 copies per day. The fact is that the Star is only worth 10p and we have no intention of going down that road.”
Trinity Mirror recorded a return to advertising growth across its national titles in the six months to the fourth of this month, with advertising revenue up 2.2 per cent year-on-year, although across its regional titles (the Daily Record and Sunday Mail are identified as 'national titles') slid 7.2 per cent.
The company said that following the acquisition of GMG Regional Media, which includes the Manchester Evening News, in March, that it would “continue to seek further consolidation opportunities where there is a good commercial and strategic fit along with a strong financial case”.
Mediaguardian also reported Bailey refusing to confirm or deny a report that Trinity Mirror has held discussions with rival Daily Mail General Trust (DMGT) over a deal with its regional newspaper operation, saying: “I believe that scale is an important driver of growth; the results out of GMG are a case in point, further consolidation is about timing, price and the general state of the economy to ensure we can deliver value for shareholders.”
Reporting on media website, paidContent: UK, this morning, its UK editor, Robert Andrews, said: “In the phone call to discuss half-year earnings yesterday morning, a technical glitch prevented Sly Bailey from hearing any questions from analysts. That’s unfortunate, given the news publisher is growing profit only from cost cuts at present…
“One of the main areas from which cuts are being wrung currently is implementing the same newsroom modernisation at Trinity Mirror’s national papers (The Mirror, Sunday Mirror, People, Daily Record, Sunday Mail) that has already happened at some regionals, starting with Media Wales.
“The implementation of ContentWatch production software, planned by September, is proving controversial, leading to 200 redundancies – mainly sub-editors, including 60 casuals.
“But Bailey told analysts (if, indeed, any were on the call) this would result in a 'complete step change in how we publish across the group' and 'more efficient multimedia newsrooms for our national newsrooms' because it involves the 'outsourcing of elements of the subbing process, the merger of news and features on each title and the full integration of print and digital publishing. Our traditional skills and processes must change to embrace emerging platforms – no newspaper can, or indeed should, cling to existing practices – we must evolve, just as the media is evolving.'”