Trinity Mirrior in its half year financial report to 28 June said today that while advertising revenues have fallen to unprecedented levels due to the downturn, there has been "a marginal improvement in the rate of decline" which is expected to continue for the remainder of the year.
Ad revenues for the regionals were down by 34.5 % and the nationals by 14.4 per cent.
Group revenues fell by 16.9% year on year to £383 million, comprising declines of 28.2% for the regionals division and 6.9% for the nationals. The regionals were adversely impacted by
the sharp declines in classified advertising revenue streams.
Operating profits were of £49.1 million, compared to £80.5 million in 2008.
On the Digital Britain report, Trinity says: "We were pleased to see that the report, along with published conclusions from an OFT review which ran in parallel, acknowledged the very significant cyclical and structural issues facing local
and regional media.
"We have consistently argued that a change in primary legislation is not necessary to address these issues, simply that the existing merger regime fully recognises that the old narrow definitions of print markets are no longer fit for purpose. The OFT conclusions
set out a number of clarifications to the operation of the regime which should be helpful to the sector and amended their guidance to include a new Local Media Assessment conducted by Ofcom in cases relating to local media mergers which raise prima facie competition concerns. This is a welcome development for the industry."
Trinity Mirror chief Sly Bailey told analysts today: "Our voice was heard." She said Trinity "continued to believe consolidation could be attractive but it depends on the nature of the transaction." Bailey said the next step would be further guidance from the OFT which is due in September.
The Mirror is about to launch a new football website containing news, nostalgia and fantasy football, the analysts were told.
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