Bingo Full House Hurting

Digital sales at Trinity Mirror’s national publishing are falling, because its pay-to-play bingo site goes on suffering from heightened competition.

For the first 17 weeks of the year, national digital revenue (that’s from the Mirror titles, the People, Sunday Mail and Daily Record) actually fell nine percent.

The publisher said this “reflects continued declines in bingo revenue” and came despite online advertising income growing by 13 percent.

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.

Mirror Bingo’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”.

Commercially, is relatively small-scale – Trinity Mirror’s national titles made £4.7 million from digital in 2010.

In Trinity Mirror’s regional news division for the last 17 weeks, digital revenue rose four percent from last year – or, 10 percent if you factor in the news sites it bought from GMG Regional Media.