Guardian ad profits decline

The Guardian Media Group last week added its name to the list of media owners whose annual reports show a dramatic shortfall in advertising revenue.

However, the owner of The Guardian and The Observer put forward a distinctly more positive outlook than Pearson, the publisher of the Financial Times, had done a few days earlier.

GMG's pre-tax profits dropped from £67 million to £9.8 million, a figure which included £33 million of investment in internet activities across the group. The drop in advertising revenues for its national titles was to a degree offset by growth from GMG's regional newspapers, including the Manchester Evening News and Greater Manchester's Metro, which it co-publishes with Associated Newspapers. GMG said that Trader Media Group, in which it has a 48 per cent stake, also generated significant growth.

"While we do not anticipate any significant upturn in the levels of advertising demand until the second half of the financial year, the start to the new year has been encouraging, GMG's chief executive, Bob Phillis, said.

Phillis' comments were distinctly more positive than those made by Pearson's chief executive, Dame Marjorie Scardino, in announcing a half-year loss of £188 million last Tuesday. Over the six months to 30 June, FT profits dropped from £32 million to £7 million. Scardino blamed "the worst advertising downturn in 30 years".

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