Britain’s largest newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror reports a tough first half for its national newspaper titles – the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.

The group expects the tabloid trio to experience a 10.3% fall in revenues over the first six months of 2002. Regional titles too will be hit, dropping 2.3% across the UK – with London and the south-east bearing the brunt of the downturn with an 11.6% revenue plunge compared with growth of 1.7% across the rest of the country.

Year-on-year sales of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People are predicted to fall by 2.4%, 2.5% and 5.1% respectively; although circulation revenues in the period January through May are up 0.7% thanks to increases in cover price.

As to advertising revenues, only the group’s three Metro freesheet titles are expected to post a plus symbol – 7.9% up year-on-year.

However, Trinity's revamp of its national titles to enhance their appeal to younger readers appears to be paying dividends, with a “significant improvement” in ad revenues during May and June compared with the first four months of this year. Net ad income for the five months is up year-on-year by 0.4%.

Despite the apparent turnround, Trinity counselled caution: “The directors believe it is prudent to plan on the current advertising conditions remaining throughout the year.”

The latest figures were released in advance of interim results, due July 31.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff