The owner of the Daily Mail and MailOnline has reported an ad revenue decline of 46% in April, with print down 69% and digital falling 16%, showing the major impact that Covid-19 is having on adland.
There’s a marginal improvement in forecast for May as the Daily Mail and General Trust expects ad revenue to be down by 45%, with print falling 70% and digital 17%.
Overall revenue fell by 33% in April and are forecast to decrease 30% in the four weeks to 24 May, the group’s financial report for the six months to 31 March noted.
DMGT said that it has reduced costs in newspaper production, distribution and discretionary spend. These results cover the Daily Mail, MailOnline, Metro and i, which was acquired in November 2019.
The company said: "The pronounced decrease in revenues resulted in the consumer media business operating at a loss in April, with a negative adjusted operating margin in the mid-single digits. This is currently expected to improve to a small loss in May 2020.
"The advertising market is expected to remain difficult and the duration of the impact of lockdown measures on circulation volumes is uncertain. The board remains confident, however, that high levels of reader engagement will help to support revenue recovery in time."
In the five months to February, before the coronavirus outbreak took hold, DMGT reported a revenue increase of 1%. However, when including March, this dropped 2% to £345m.
The report added: "The underlying growth from digital advertising of 15% was more than offset by a 4% decrease in print advertising revenues and a 5% decrease in circulation revenues.
"Revenues grew 1% in absolute terms, benefiting from the inclusion of four months’ trading of the i, the UK national newspaper and website, which was acquired at the end of November 2019."
Total ad revenue for the six-month period across the titles grew 4% to £177m. Circulation revenue fell 5% to £146m because of continued decline in volumes, DMGT said.
However, this was partly offset by a rise in cover prices: the Daily Mail Saturday edition rose by 10p to £1.10 and the i weekend edition wenr up by 20p to £1.20.