Daily Mail cheered by resilient consumer media performance

The owner of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday has seen a bounceback in revenues at its newspaper and consumer arm thanks to its burgeoning online business.

Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) has reported a 1% rise in first-quarter underlying revenues for its newspaper and consumer division, helping send shares up 3%.

It said underlying advertising revenues rose 4% after a 10% surge in digital sales offset a 1% decline in print revenues over the three months to December 31.

The robust advertising performance more than made up for a 3% fall in circulation.

On a reported basis, consumer revenues lifted 3%.

Overall DMGT underlying group revenues rose 2% in the first quarter, but were down 2% on a reported basis.

It marks a welcome turnaround after DMGT’s consumer division revenues fell 4% over the previous financial year.

Ian Whittaker, an analyst at Liberum, praised the first-quarter consumer division performance.

He said: “Print advertising revenues only fell 1% in fiscal first quarter, which is a remarkable performance in the context, with DMGT highlighting it had taken share.”

DMGT said it was on track for full-year forecasts of £1.4 billion revenues and underlying pre-tax profits of £164 million.

Its business-to-business division saw underlying revenues rise 3% in the first quarter, although they were down 5% on a reported basis due to a currency hit and asset sales.

In November, DMGT warned that consumer revenues will remain under pressure in 2019 despite an online boost.

It saw advertising revenue from its Mail Online operations overtake its sales from the Mail’s print advertising for the first time over the year to September 30.

The group reported underlying pre-tax profits of £182 million for the year to September 30, down from £226 million the previous year.