The owner of the Daily Mail said that the revenue it made from selling newspapers dropped 2% in the first three months of the financial year.
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) said it had seen a 2% fall in circulation revenue, a blow in part cushioned when it bought the i newspaper in 2019.
Without this purchase, circulation revenue would have dropped by 7%, the company revealed. Revenue was also helped by a 10p hike in the price of the Daily Mail in January last year.
But while circulation took a hit, the company’s advertising income fared even worse. Many businesses have slashed their advertising spend as they are squeezed by the pandemic.
A rise of 8% in digital advertising was more than offset by a 38% slump in print ads.
It meant that ad revenue dropped by 15% in DMGT’s consumer media unit, which also includes the Mail on Sunday and the Metro, as well as their online versions.
“The print advertising market remains challenging and the revenue impact was exacerbated by reduced readership of Metro,” DMGT said.
“Excluding Metro, total advertising was in line with the prior year on an underlying basis. MailOnline achieved strong growth as it delivered high and increasing levels of engagement with the direct audience.”
But the consumer unit fared considerably better than the company’s business to business arm. Sales there dropped by 30%, mainly because of a complete halt in physical events.
The company’s events and exhibitions arm saw its revenue drop by 95% across the three months, DMGT said.
The unit’s two biggest events are usually held in November, but Covid put a dent in the plans. The larger of the two, the Abu Dhabi International Exhibition & Conference, was cancelled and held online instead.
The other big money-maker, The Big 5 Dubai, has been postponed until September this year.
But going forward, DMGT said bookings for larger events are still “encouraging”.
The company told shareholders: “Other than for a few smaller shows, no changes have been made to the 2021 events schedule in recent months.
“The vaccination programmes in Dubai and Singapore, where Gastech is scheduled to be held in September 2021, are progressing, but exhibitors’ and delegates’ ability and willingness to travel internationally remain uncertain.”