Trinity Mirror has reported a 10.3 per cent decline in publishing print revenue following the closure of six of its titles, contributing to a 7.8 per cent drop in overall revenue on a like for like basis in the six months up to 3 July.
Circulation revenues declined 4.7 per cent with volume declines partially offset by cover price increases, with the Saturday edition of the Daily Mirror increasing by 10p to £1, and the weekday edition rising by 5p to 65p.
The publisher delivered a revenue performance “broadly in line with market trends”, it reported, which has seen print revenue declines sweeping the industry. To counter this the publisher worked to tightly manage its cost base in the first half of the year, cutting off papers that were not making a profit including the New Day.
The publisher said that while the short-lived national received “many supportive reviews” and built a “strong following on Facebook”, the circulation for the title was below its expectations, forcing the publisher to close the paper on 6 May after just two months.
“Whilst disappointing, the launch and subsequent closure have provided new insights into enhancing our newspapers and a number of these opportunities will be considered over time,” the report read.
Trinity Mirror also closed five small titles: Western Morning News Sunday, North Somerset Mercury, Grantham Target, Mercury Extra and Midweek Mercury - Stevenage. It additionally converted Nuneaton News from a from daily into a weekly, which saw the local office closed and staff slashed from seven to three.
The publisher said the market for its regional titles “remains difficult” with declines of 14.6 per cent for paid-for dailies, 16.3 per cent for paid-for weeklies and 17.6 per cent for paid-for Sundays. It said alongside the closure of five of its titles, all papers in its regional portfolio are “experiencing difficulty” and its overall trends remain challenged in the market.
Increased challenges in print advertising markets saw declines in display advertising across a number of sectors, in particular retail. Most classified advertising categories also came under pressure, in particular recruitment.
On the flipside, the publisher reported strong growth in digital audience and revenue, with average monthly page views growing by 19 per cent to 770 million on a like for like basis. It posted strong growth in digital display and transactional revenue of 27.8 per cent, partly offset by classified revenue declines of 9 per cent, primarily due to falls in recruitment advertising.