There was some comfort for the media sector yesterday as two groups announced rising advertising revenues, despite market conditions.
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) said it expects its full year adjusted results to be in line with market expectations as its national advertising revenue continues to improve.
In a pre-close trading statement, the publisher of the Daily Mail and London Evening Standard said that national newspaper advertising, including Associated Northcliffe Digital and Teletext rose eight per cent year-on-year in the 11 months to August.
Northcliffe Media, its regional newspaper arm, saw advertising revenue in the same period drop almost one per cent year-on year, although the company added that the last 12 weeks have seen a 2.4 per cent rise in advertising levels.
To date the Daily Mail has not seen a slowdown in consumer advertising as UK interest rates rise, but said it remains wary about the impact of rate rises on advertising generally and particularly home information packs on property advertising.
Property ad revenues at its regional titles were up 7.9 per cent in the period, although the company said the rate of growth is slowing.
In contrast, recruitment advertising grew only 1.2 per cent year-on-year but has showed an improving trend since March 2007 of 5.8 per cent.
Circulation revenue at Northcliffe Media was down 1.2 per cent in the period, and the company said integration of the local media assets bought from Trinity Mirror in July is proceeding well.
Circulation figures for its eponymous national title dipped year-on-year in the six months to August, and the Mail on Sunday fell 0.7 per cent. Both titles increased their market share.
Circulation revenue across Associated Newspapers in the 11 months to August were 1.5 per cent above the same period last year.
DMGT said there had been minimal discernible impact from the credit market turmoil but admitted it was experiencing a challenging market at Trepp and Lewtan, part of its DMG Information business, although the company remains optimistic that revenues will continue to grow.
Its business-to-business divisions are "continuing to enjoy good trading conditions, tempered in sterling terms by the weakness of the US dollar."
Meanwhile, FHM and Heat publisher Emap said the "challenging" consumer magazines market was showing signs of improvement.
The media firm, which is considering selling assets under a group-wide review, said trading was encouraging with radio operations seeing better second quarter performance and its consumer titles expected to pick up profitability in the second half.
Emap's update came ahead of this weekend's deadline for informal offers for the company's assets.
A number of firms are said to be interested in parts of Emap's business, including private equity houses Apax Partners and Quadrangle, which already owns the US magazine arm of Dennis Publishing, publisher of Maxim and Viz.
Emap's former chief executive Sir Robin Miller is also understood to be planning a bid for the group's consumer magazines.
The group provided little update on the review process yesterday, saying only that it was "encouraged" with progress and would give further details alongside its interim results in November.
Emap, which owns Birmingham-based rock station Kerrang!, said half-year revenues were up two per cent in its radio business - including a stronger second quarter performance.
But stripping out its Irish stations - recently sold for £135 million - revenues were flat, with London stations such as Kiss and Magic seeing a five per drop offset by a two per cent rise at its local Big City network.
Its better performing business-to-business publishing arm, home to titles such as Construction News and Retail Week, saw a five per cent hike in revenues.
Consumer magazines endured another tough six months, with underlying revenues down seven per cent after a four per cent drop in circulation and an 11 per cent decline in advertising.
But Emap said forward ad bookings suggested the second half was set for improvements, adding that its "efficiency initiatives" would help profitability remain robust.
The group announced a cost-cutting drive earlier this year, which has seen jobs shed and the group move offices.