Olympic Games and Mail Online lift DMGT sales

THE PUBLISHER of the Daily Mail said yesterday that its national news division had been boosted by the Olympics, reporting a seven per cent rise in ad sales over July and August.

Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) saw a three per cent rise in underlying sales in the 11 months to the end of August, with its successful business to business arm and the rise of the Mail Online website offsetting falling newspaper revenues, the firm said in a trading update.

The Associated Newspapers division – which publishes the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro papers – returned to growth after three successive years of falling sales when the effects of last December’s sale of Teletext were stripped out.

This was driven by a 72 per cent rise in advertising sales at Mail Online, which became the world’s most read news website this year and became profitable over the summer. “Growth in digital advertising is offsetting print declines and we will continue to invest in new markets for Mail Online,” DMGT’s finance director Stephen Daintith told City A.M., adding that a number of “well-timed divestments” had cut debt below £700m for the first time in years.

DMGT’s local newspaper division continued to slip, seeing a six per cent fall in underlying sales, while the higher margin business to business division rose eight per cent.

The company expects a slight drop in sales but improved profits when it reports full year results in November.