NEWSPAPER group Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) today hinted that the media sector may be finding its feet after a very tough 2009 although it still remains cautious in its outlook.
The FTSE 250 group saw revenue fall eight per cent on an underlying basis to £482m in the three months to December as the tough economic climate continued to bite its balance sheet. Like its rival newspaper groups, it has been feeling the effects of the downturn in advertising revenue although there are signs that the slump is stabilising.
The group, which recently sold the Evening Standard newspaper to Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev, and closed the free London Lite, said its flagship Daily Mail newspaper suffered an 11 per cent drop in national advertising sales.
However, it added that January trading had shown “a marked improvement on last year” with advertising revenue up year-on-year at both the newspaper and website.
Regional advertising sales were also picking up – down 13 per cent during the period compared to an 18 per cent decline the previous quarter.
Visibility on future advertising performance nevertheless remains very limited, DMGT warned.
Chief executive Martin Morgan said the new year had started strongly. But he added: “We remain cautious about the outlook for the rest of the year, particularly in the UK.”
“The business to business part of the organisation has continued to be resilient, although the business to consumer arm has continued to face challenging market conditions particularly in the areas of display and classified advertising,” said Andy Viner, head of media, at BDO LLP.