Publisher Trinity Mirror has recorded a 9% drop in like-for-like group revenue over the first half of the year, amid what the board concedes is a ‘challenging’ trading environment.
Over the 26-week period to 2 July 2017 Trinity Mirror saw publishing revenue fall by 10% while print declined by an even more precipitous 12%, offset only partially by a 5% rise in digital returns.
Advertising remains a weak spot for the business, however, with print advertising declining by 21% on the back of a further 6% fall in circulation – although it should be noted that this advertising drop was skewed by a one-off boost given by last year’s European football championship.
On the other side of the coin, a strategy of growing its digital display and transactional revenue bore fruit with growth of 18% recorded.
Trinity Mirror has been aggressively cutting costs to make up the shortfall, with some success thus far as it continues to see net debt decline.
Chief executive Simon Fox said: “The trading environment for print in the first half remained volatile but we remain on course to meet our expectations for the year. I anticipate that the second half will show improving revenue momentum as we benefit from initiatives implemented during the first half of the year.”
Trinity Mirror is braced for volatility in relation to civil claims arising from the phone-hacking scandal, forcing the board to set aside a further £7.5m to settle outstanding claims.
While the process of settling claims remains lengthy and complex ,Trinity Mirror believes that its exposure will not undermine future performance.