Record publisher announces better than expected prospects

THE prospects for the publisher of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail newspapers are better than were expected, according to an interim management statement issued today.

Says Trinity Mirror – which also publishes several local newspapers in Scotland, under its Scottish & Universal Newspapers division – the demise in July of its main rival title, the News of the World, has seen “significant improvement in the circulation volumes and revenue performance for our Sunday titles”.

Add “an improvement in the rate of decline in advertising revenues compared to the first half [of this year]”, and the prospects for the company have become a “performance marginally ahead of the top end of the current range of market expectations in 2011″.

The statement covers the 17 weeks up to the 30th of last month. The News of the World was closed by its owners, in the wake of phone-hacking allegations.

While revenue pre- and post- the News of the World demise combined to create no revenue change over the period, net debt fell – between July 3 and October 30 – by £20 million to £242 million.

Of its nationals division – which includes the Daily Record and the Sunday Mail – Trinity Mirror said: “Circulation revenues increased by ten per cent for the period. Our Sunday titles have made significant year on year volume gains in the period with the Sunday Mirror up 61 per cent, The People up 58 per cent and the Sunday Mail up five per cent. Our national daily titles year-on-year volume performance was also ahead of market trends. There were no cover price increases during the period. Whilst advertising revenues declined by ten per cent for the period, we continue to broadly maintain advertising volume market share for our national newspapers. Other revenues have increased by ten per cent reflecting increased contract print revenues.

“Digital revenues increased by one per cent for the period. The increase in digital revenues reflects strong growth in advertising revenues increasing by 33 per cent largely offset by declines in other revenue, in particular Bingo revenues.”

The statement also says: “The Group remains on track to deliver the structural cost savings target of £25 million for 2011.”

Of its regionals division, the publisher continues: “Circulation revenues fell by three per cent for the period reflecting an improvement in the level of volume trend declines and the benefit of cover price increases. Advertising revenues fell by seven per cent for the period with display falling by three per cent and classified falling by ten per cent. Whilst overall recruitment advertising has fallen by nine per cent during the period we achieved growth in digital recruitment advertising revenues. Property, motors and other classified advertising revenues fell by eight per cent, 16 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. Other revenues fell by two per cent reflecting increased revenues from contract publishing for football clubs more than offset by declines in leaflets and other publishing revenues.

“Digital revenues have grown by three per cent for the period with advertising revenues increasing by two per cent and other revenues by ten per cent.”