London: British newspaper publisher Daily Mail & General Trust said the decline in advertising revenue at its national and regional titles had slowed last quarter but visibility for the future remained low.
National newspaper ad revenues fell 12% in the quarter to end-June, compared with a 23% decline the previous quarter. British regional newspaper ad revenues fell 33%, compared with 36% a quarter earlier.
“Advertising revenues in the quarter showed a lower decline than in the previous quarter, with June being the best month, although July has so far been disappointing,” Daily Mail said of its national titles in a statement on Thursday.
“They remain volatile from week to week, with little visibility on future performance.”
The group’s total revenues for its fiscal third quarter fell 13% to £520 million ($852 million), and were saved from a steeper decline by the company’s business-to-business operations, where sales slipped only 3%.
As well as its flagship Daily Mail newspaper — Britain’s leading mid-market tabloid — the company also publishes about 100 regional newspapers, owns separately listed financial publisher Euromoney and runs international exhibitions.
Gannett, the largest US newspaper group and publisher of USA Today, last week reported an 18% drop in quarterly revenue, and media group Group M forecast that British newspaper ad spending would fall 26% this year.
Daily Mail said it cut its net debt, which at more than 3 times core earnings has been causing investors some concern, to £1.142 billion from £1.227 billion during the quarter, mainly due to sterling’s appreciation against the US dollar.
Daily Mail shares have risen 15% since the start of the year, against the trend of a declining media index, thanks to its strong portfolio of non-consumer and subscription businesses, which are less exposed to advertising budgets.