Trinity Mirror Unveils Slow UK Ad Growth

15 December 2003

UK newspaper giant Trinity Mirror insists it will meet full-year profit forecasts despite the "difficult and volatile" ad market.

TM last week announced that group advertising revenues edged up by just 1% year-on-year in the five months to November 30. Although its regional newspaper division managed a 3.9% ad rise, the company was dragged down by a 5.7% plunge at its national titles (the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People, plus Scottish titles the Daily Record and Sunday Mail).

However, TM said it was trading "in line with the board’s expectations" and believes it will meet analysts' predictions of £164 million ($286m; €234m) pre-tax earnings for the full year.

The company added that national advertising had been hit by certain structural changes to the papers. The axing of the loss-making M magazine supplement led to a 1.7% drop in ad revenues in the short term.

Despite this slide in advertising, the national titles were boosted by a 5.2% increase in circulation revenues, reflecting a hike in the cover price of the flagship Daily Mirror to £0.32 outside Scotland.

Circulation income is crucial for TM's national division, where it is a bigger revenue stream than advertising. Further rises, however, will be hindered by tumbling sales of the Daily Mirror. Earlier this year the title's circulation crashed below 2m to a 70-year-low [WAMN: 15-Apr-03], and it has continued to fall ever since. In November it stood at 1.9m, down 11.27% year-on-year.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff