Regional slump leads to DMGT profit warning

SHARES of Daily Mail and General Trust sank by seven per cent yesterday morning as the publishing group warned that half year profits are expected to fall as revenues from its regional newspapers continue to wane.

Northcliffe Media, DMGT’s regional newspaper publishing division, saw revenues decline by 10 per cent in the period as advertising sales dropped 11 per cent. Slightly offset by increased cover prices, circulation revenues fell five per cent.

DMGT finance director Stephen Daintith told City A.M., “Traditional revenues in this industry are migrating to the internet, and Northcliffe Media has struggled accordingly.

“But reinvigoration of the business, including changing the frequency of some titles, is leading to improved margins and good cash generation.”

Four Northcliffe dailies have made the transition to weekly papers in the last year, of which three saw a considerable jump in circulation figures despite DMGT reporting a seven per cent circulation revenue drop in its regional division in the first quarter.

First half revenues declined by two per cent in the group’s national publishing arm, Associated Newspapers, despite a four per cent boost in circulation revenues due to the Daily Mail’s increased cover price and an improvement in market share.

But Mail Online’s revenues jumped 69 per cent. The website is expecting to hit the 100m monthly visitor milestone in the next two months.