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Mail Online helps DMGT to significant increase in digital revenue

Underlying digital revenues from newspaper websites owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) increased by 54 per cent in the year ending October, due to the “growing success of its primary website, Mail Online” according to the group’s preliminary results published today.

According to the published reports, circulation revenues at the group’s Associated Newspapers titles, which includes the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and Metro, fell by an underlying two per cent while underlying advertising revenues were up seven per cent, said to have been driven by a “strong performance” from Metro.

Both the Daily Mail and Metro recorded their highest ever operating profit, the report adds.

DMGT’s regional arm Northcliffe recorded several declines, with underlying revenues down £16 million (six per cent), reported revenues have dropped by 8 per cent and advertising revenues were also down by 7 per cent.

Northcliffe: facing another tough year; UK advertising revenue in the first seven weeks down 7 per cent on last year, continuing year‐on‐year trend experienced in September (like‐for‐like decline of 8 per cent). Outlook for first quarter not expected to improve on this trend; will also be affected by higher newsprint costs; focus remains on reducing costs and new revenue opportunities.

Note: Underlying revenues are those adjusted for acquisitions and disposals made in the current and prior year.

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MediaGuardian: DMGT records second highest ever profit

December 9th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Interesting to note amidst a backdrop of job cuts and industry crisis talks that the newspaper industry is still a business – and sometimes still a big money one.

In its annual report released yesterday, publishing group Daily Mail & General Trust announced an operating profit for 2009 of £278 million.

The group’s businesses now make up 73 per cent (£203 million) of this operating profit, with newspaper publishing only accounting for 27 per cent (£75 million). Compare this to 1996 when DMGT’s newspapers made up 86 per cent of this figure.

“My father made a decision some 15 years ago to diversify the group away from the UK newspaper market into other media less dependent on newspapers, advertising and the UK. Given what has happened in the last year, that decision has proved to have been inspired. From next to nothing then, our B2B businesses have this year contributed nearly three quarters of the group’s profit, with over 60 per cent of our profits coming from outside the UK. While some of the diversification has been more successful than others, in total it has been a well executed expansion, largely into the United States, graveyard of so many UK company expansion plans,” said group chairman Viscount Rothermere in a statement.

Full story at this link…

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Johnston Press’ ad revenues feel effects of recession

August 28th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Newspapers

Johnston Press has today reported half-year revenues of £218.6 million – down 25.4 per cent year-on-year.

Print advertising revenue fell by 33.5 per cent; while digital advertising revenues also declined – by 18.8 per cent.

The publisher’s revenue from employment advertising was down by 53.8 per cent, property ads by 54.2 per cent, motors by 29.3 per cent and from other classifieds by 11.5 per cent.

The company’s interim report said ad revenues were down 32.7 per cent in the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.

In an attempt to improve their digital recruitment sites and therefore their appeal to recruitment advertisers, Johnston Press has entered into a joint venture with Daily Mail & General Trust, giving them access to the latter’s Jobsite software.

The report also expresses the group’s struggle ‘to compete with the regional activities of the publicly funded BBC digital presence’, claiming that it ‘distorts the markets within which they operate through making the charging for news content extremely difficult’.

“The timing of the economic upturn remains uncertain but advertising revenues are demonstrating greater stability
and we expect the cyclical improvement when it comes to more than compensate any structural change. We will
maintain our focus on costs and look to secure operating efficiencies during the second half of the year,” said CEO John Fry in the report.

Yesterday the publisher celebrated success after it was announced that it had attracted the most unique users, to its network of regional newspaper websites, in the first six months of 2009.

The publisher, which is responsible for more than 323 websites, recorded 6,864,820 monthly unique users on average over the period, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s six-monthly report for regional newspaper groups.

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Jon Bernstein: Free is just another cover price

August 27th, 2009 | 10 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Newspapers

Apocryphal perhaps, but the story has it that Rupert Murdoch always wanted to charge for thelondonpaper.

When News International’s big boss was shown a dummy copy prior to the September 2006 launch, he apparently declared that the paper would easily justify a 10p cover price.

James Seddon, a member of thelondonpaper launch team, who recounts the tale on this blog, concludes:

“If he didn’t get ‘free’ then, it’s no surprise he dropped the paper when times were tough.”

Given Murdoch’s current fixation with finding a way to generate revenue online, it would be tempting not only to conflate thelondonpaper decision with a general trend towards paid-for content, but also to assume the paper’s demise sounds the death knell for freesheets.

So let’s be clear about a few things:

  • thelondonpaper didn’t fail because it was free
  • it didn’t lose £12.9 million in a year because it was free
  • a 10p cover charge would not have saved it
  • its free-to-view website isn’t closing because it’s a threat to Rupert Murdoch’s paid-for plans.

Oh, and:

  • the freesheet isn’t dead

All newspapers, and the bulk of broadcast media around the world, adopt an ad-funded business model.

In some cases advertising subsidises the cost of production and the consumer pays a competitive price.

In other cases advertising covers those costs completely and the consumer gets to read, watch or listen gratis.

In both cases the advertiser is paying for the eyeballs and the reader, viewer or listener gets content for a fraction (or none) of the real running costs of the media business.

Rather than two distinct models, there’s a continuous line that runs from commercial radio, trade publications and freesheets to subscription satellite channels, consumer magazines and national newspapers.

Whether the content is free or has a nominal price attached is something of a moot point.

As web strategist Jeff Sonderman argued earlier this summer “newspaper folk haven’t actually charged for content since the 1830s.”

It was during that decade that subscribers stopped bearing the full cost of putting the paper together. Typically, says Sonderman, newspaper prices fell from six cents to one cent.

At a stroke, access to newspapers was no longer limited to those who could afford the luxury. He notes:

“For about 180 years, the retail price of a newspaper has never reflected the total cost of assembling and producing it. Any paper that tried to charge such a price (6x more) would lose circulation and be undercut by correctly priced competing papers.”

Murdoch’s 10p cover charge wouldn’t have saved thelondonpaper. It certainly wouldn’t have paid for production costs and circulation would not have justified a 500,000 print run.

So, thelondonpaper isn’t closing because the model was flawed, but because News International either couldn’t make it work in the current economic climate or was unwilling to give a paper, still in its infancy, the time it needed to become commercially viable.

Or, as David Prosser neatly put it in last Friday’s Independent:

“The surprise with thelondonpaper is that it has survived this long, especially as the title was launched for no real commercial reason other than to get up the noses of Daily Mail & General Trust, owner of Metro and London Lite.”

This is not the end of the freesheet even if it feels that way right now.

Certainly, London Lite could fold. After all, it too was launched for tactical reasons – a spoiler in a spiralling tit-for-tat between DMGT and News International.

Having effectively achieved those ends, its owners may conclude there’s little point in London Lite overstaying its welcome and queering the pitch for its stablemates.

But if London Lite does go, commuters beware – you’ll still be playing dodge the Metro/City AM/Shortcuts/Sport vendor for some time yet.

After all, free is just another cover price.

Jon Bernstein is former multimedia editor of Channel 4 News. This is part of a series of regular columns for Journalism.co.uk. You can read his personal blog at this link.

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Media Week: Associated Northcliffe Digital to handle online ad sales for Hello!

Media Week reports: “Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) has formed closer ties with celebrity title Hello!, having agreed that its digital unit Associated Northcliffe Digital (AND) will handle online ad sales for Hellomagazine.com.”

Full story at this link…

(Via paidContent:UK)

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FT.com: Lebedev to buy Evening Standard for £1?

January 21st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Owners of the paper, Daily Mail & General Trust, are expected to confirm the sale to the Russian oligarch later today.

Full story at this link…

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Tracking UK newspaper share prices with Twitter

December 22nd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology

With a little a lot of help from our friends (take a bow Headshift’s Tim Duckett) there’s a new Twitter kid on the block – @jocoukshares.

Following Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press’ exits from the FTSE 250, the aim is to provide almost real-time share price information for the newspaper and magazine publishing groups currently listed on the FTSE.

Below is a key to the company names:

FUTR – Future Publishing

CAU – Centaur

TNI – Trinity Mirror

INM – Independent News & Media

REL – Reed Elsevier

PSON – Pearson

JPR – Johnston Press

DMGT – Daily Mail & General Trust

INF – Informa

NWS – News Corp

Tim’s made stirling progress with setting up feeds of the share prices to Twitter and there’s no reason why this couldn’t be expanded beyond newspapers and mags in the future.

However, suggestions about a ‘front-end’ for the project are welcome. Building a newspaper-share-price-feed-tracking widget will probably be one of my Christmas Eve tasks – any suggestions?

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MediaWeek: Northcliffe will see major cuts as revenue falls

November 20th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Daily Mail & General Trust yearly figures show 28 per cent year on year decline in October. As a result ‘significant’ cuts will be made at Northcliffe Media.

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paidContent:UK: DMGT merges national and regional newspaper divisions

September 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

The Daily Mail & General Trust is to merge its regional and national newspaper divisions under a new management structure.

The new department of A&N Media will be headed by existing Associated Newspapers managing director Kevin Beatty, who will add the responsibility to his current role.

Beatty will effectively take control of Northcliffe’s regional newspapers and websites as part of the changes, paidContent reports.

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