Daily Mail sees surge in online ad revenues

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) edged higher yesterday after the company posted a two per cent rise in underlying revenues in the first five months of the year, boosted by strong online growth.

The newspaper conglomerate said advertising revenues at its Mail Online site soared 59 per cent in the period to the end of February.

This helped to offset an eight per cent decline in advertising at its newspaper titles, which include the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro.

“Whilst print advertising revenues were down £11m in the period, digital advertising revenues increased by £13m, an important inflection point for our business,” DMGT finance director Stephen Daintith said.

Mail Online, which last year overtook the New York Times as the world’s most read online newspaper, attracted 111m unique browsers in February, up 22 per cent on last year.

Mobile traffic accounted for a record 43 per cent of total visits, with traffic through its iPhone and Android apps also at record levels.

The website is expected to generate £3.4m of revenues in March, with revenues for the year to the end of September expected to be around £45m – up from £19m in 2011.

DMG Media – DMGT’s newspaper and website division – is also home to other online businesses including property website Zoopla, which it said expects to generate revenues “in excess of £60m”.

But despite strong growth across its digital businesses, DMG Media’s revenues dropped by two per cent, as a one per cent growth in advertising failed to fully offset a six per cent fall in circulation revenue.

Headcount across the division has fallen by 16 per cent to 3,237 since September, due to recent disposals.

The company said its B2B businesses continued to trade resiliently in the second quarter, with underlying revenues up by five per cent in the five months to the end of February.

DMG information saw double digit growth across its education, property and energy businesses. In December, DMGT sold its regional newspaper arm, Northcliffe Media, to Local World, a newly formed company set up by a former chief executive of the Mirror Group, David Montgomery.