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Earnings: DMGT Digital Grows On Ad Site Acquisitions; Print Accounts For Less Than Half Of Profit

Classifieds helped grow half-year profit 29 percent to £5.8 ($11.5) million at the digital division of newspaper group Daily Mail General Trust (DMGT). Ad revenue at the Associated Northcliffe Digital subsidiary grew 83 percent in the six months to April 1, according to interim results, mostly thanks to a string of acqusitions of online job, auto and property listings websites (that would have been 33 percent without those acquisitions).

Indicating the growing importance of the web to the overall mix, print now makes up less than half of DMGT’s operating profit for the first time – 48 percent, against 56 percent in the first half of 2006. Digital revenues from the Northcliffe local newspaper subsidiary rose 58 percent. Overall, profit rose 24 percent to £135 ($267) million; modest increases were even reported in print advertising.

Faced with falling print ad revenue, DMGT has in the last year bought up a series of classifieds websites, including a pair in Croatia and Slovakia; it reported earlier acquisition Jobsite.com traded ahead of expectations. But Teletext, the veteran analog TV text service that has been squeezed out by more fully-featured digital rivals, saw a loss of £3 ($6) million after revenue fell 18 percent to £20 ($39.6) million; that’s despite Teletext’s digital audience growing and digital revenue rising 55 percent. The statement said the service would break even over the year thanks to “seasonal factors and partly due to actions taken” – reading between the lines, that probably refers to the upcoming summer holiday season (many tour operators advertise on Teletext) and redundancies for 40 of its 220 staff.

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