Trinity Mirror CEO Defies Digital Challenge, Expects Print Turnaround

UK newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror yesterday reported print ad revenue over the quarter fell by up to 5.8 percent, while digital revenue rocketed by up to 30.7 percent – a divergent picture if ever there was, and one that has become increasingly consistent over successive quarters. But CEO Sly Bailey’s address to shareholders gave the impression of anything but crisis in the printed realm: “Much of the pessimism about the newspaper market has been created by certain media commentators misjudging the market. Clearly the growth of digital media and particularly broadband penetration creates challenges … [but] … when the market turns and advertising returns, and it will, we believe we are better placed than anyone to benefit. We are convinced that newspapers will be in business for many years to come.” (Guardian).

That sounds out of step with chairman Sir Ian Gibson’s latest report that the advertising environment “remains challenging and volatile”. What is clear is that the web is saving newspapers’ overall bottom lines from sinking still farther. Bailey did acknowledge Trinity Mirror’s “key challenge” was to substantially grow the share of its revenue that comes from digital. Although the publisher is currently seeking to add multimedia to many of its regional newspaper sites, that challenge is likely to be met be further acquisitions in the online classifieds space, however.