Earnings: Trinity H1 Digital Grows, Overall Down, Ups Fish4 Stake

This is becoming a pattern. Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) half-year profits to June are down 15 percent to £80.5 million, despite digital revenue growing 40.2 percent to £22.3 million.

Digital now represents 4.8 percent of revenue (up from 3.4 percent in 2007) and Trinity has set a target – £100 million from digital by 2011 and doubling audience to 24 million by 2010 (that’s only a bit more than Guardian.co.uk got this June).

Regionals: Digital profit grew 31.8 percent to £5.8 million on 33.6 percent better revenue of £19.5 million and now makes up nine percent of the division. But all print operations fell, knocking 21.7 percent off last year’s profit to settle at £45.5 million. No doubt there’s a worsening ad problem – down three percent in January and February, and 3.3 percent across the division, but down 11.3 percent in May and June. Still, Trinity is ploughing further in to classified ads – sneakily, it revealed it upped its stake in Fish4 from a third to 50 percent on July 18.

Nationals: All the printed titles’ circulations shrank and the ad recession is mirrored here, down 3.5 percent in January and February but 13.2 percent in May and June – or down 6.5 percent overall since last year to £75.2 million. Digital revenue is up a whopping 100.6 percent during the period to £2.8 million (UK titles up 145.4 percent, Scottish up 34.8 percent). Increases in digital actually helped the unit’s revenue up 1.5 percent to £244.4 million, but its profit fell 6.2 percent to £42.7 million.

More after the jump…

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Regional digital advertising’s makeup is 63.6 percent job ads, 19.6 percent property, 16.8 percent other. Average monthly uniques across the four national sites are up 70.8 percent annually to 2.7 million, attributed to to better cross-promotion and design bringing more users (though, frankly, Mirror.co.uk redesigned outside the period in question).

Having faced concern over its pension fund this month, Trinity’s results reveal its facing a bigger pension deficit of £145.2 million, taking great pains to explain the reason – “a change in mortality assumptions”, ie. ex-staff are living longer. Trinity said the biggest risk over the next six months is – surprise, surprise – “the advertising environment”: “The slowing economy and uncertain outlook has already impacted the consumer advertising markets and this could continue or possibly worsen as we proceed through the remainder of the year.