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Online ad sales are growing very slowly in the regions, faster at the national level and paid gaming is drying up, according to Trinity Mirror’s interim financial results for the 17 weeks to October 30.
- Nationals division (Mirror, People, Daily Record, Sunday Mail): Digital advertising sales grew by 33 percent – but almost wiped out by disappearing MirrorBingo custom, causing overall digital to grow only one percent.
- Regionals division: Digital revenue up three percent, with digital advertising up only two percent, other digital sales by a tenth.
Mirror Group Digital unique browsers over the period were 33 percent higher than last year (source: ABCe).
In recent years, publishers have tried augmenting their core free news sites with paid facilities like bingo. News International’s Sun Bingo is believed to contribute a significant amount to the publisher.
But, thanks to a deregulation of marketing rules surrounding online gambling, there is now a glut of online bingo games out there, many of them advertised on daytime TV, meaning more competition for the publishers.
MirrorBingo’s success for Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) has been slimming for some time since its initial burst – back in the 2009 annual report, the publisher saw “bingo revenues declining due to increased competition and the impact of the recession”.
In August 2011, CEO Sly Bailey promised City analysts: “Expect significant developments to the Mirror.co.uk and MirrorFootball.co.uk sites in the fourth quarter.”
Overall, Trinity Mirror advertising income is eight percent down from a year ago, but has been offset by an increase in circulation income.
The Sunday Mirror gained 61 percent circulation and The People is up 58 percent in the vacuum left by News Of The World. Even so, Trinity Mirror’s nationals division lost a tenth of its advertising revenue