Doing nothing to dispel the gloom surrounding the UK’s media industry, Britain’s biggest newspaper group Trinity Mirror warned its ad revenues maintained their downward trajectory in the second half of this year and will continue to tumble into 2002.

At its three national titles – flagship paper The Mirror, plus the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People – ad income slumped 10.1% year-on-year in October and 20.7% in November, with the decline likely to be in the region of 20% in December. Behind the results was a heavy fall in display advertising, though classified ads performed relatively well and are expected to be up over the year.

At the group’s regional papers, which saw recruitment advertising hold firm, advertising revenue fell 2.3% in October and 2.9% in November, considerably worse than the 2% growth recorded for the third quarter. Trinity’s Scottish titles, meanwhile, saw declines of 17.3% last month and 13% in October.

The group declined to offer precise predictions for 2002, though chief executive Philip Graf warned that “the uncertain economic outlook and unpredictable advertising conditions” are set to continue.

Trinity hopes a cost cutting campaign – with annual investment in digital activities set to fall to £10 million from January – and an anticipated fall in the price it pays for newsprint will compensate for its ever-decreasing ad revenue.

News source: Financial Times