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DMGT’s Regional Arm Poised To Return To Profit As It Plots 150 App Launches

By Mark Sweney: Daily Mail (LSE: DMGT) & General Trust has said that it expects its regional newspaper business to return to revenue growth in the second half of 2010 for the first time in two years, as the company unveils plans to launch 150 apps in the next 12 months.

DMGT, which has just unveiled Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPad apps for the Metro newspaper and property site Primelocation, also said that the freeze on the government’s £200m-plus ad spend would not have a major impact on the business.

The DMGT chief executive, Martin Morgan, told journalists and analysts yesterday that public sector ad spend accounted for about 3% of total business to consumer revenues and within that, 7% to 8% of revenues at the Northcliffe Media regional newspaper division. This equates to a total public sector ad spend of about £18m, with about £10m spent on Northcliffe Media titles, according to revenue figures published by DMGT yesterday.

“Local media should move into year-on-year revenue growth in the second half of the year,” said Morgan, adding that it would take something “very major to blow us off course” from achieving that prediction. “Government-related advertising is actually a small part of overall advertising, we are not a major recipient of government spending.”

DMGT added that growth in private sector advertising was “taking up the slack” of any drop-off in bookings from the government and that the company’s business division expected to capitalise globally from moves to outsource public sector services.

Morgan said that the regional newspaper division, which has borne the brunt of the 500 job cuts DMGT said it made between September and 4 April, experienced a “bumpy April”. Overall trading during April and the first three weeks of May had seen property advertising up 9% and recruitment up 2%

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..