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Media group hit

DC Thomson profits plunge despite sales growth

P&J Courier DC Thomson

Newspaper revenue was down

Media group DC Thomson, publisher of the Dundee Courier, Aberdeen P&J , Sunday Post and the Beano, has reported a plunge in profits as advertising revenues fell.

The Dundee-based published reported pre-tax profits for 2018 down from £86.4m to £21.1m despite growing overall revenues from £207.3m to £221m.

The family-owned firm’s portfolio extends to evening titles in Dundee and Aberdeen, and magazines including the People’s Friend, My Weekly, The Scots Magazine, Puzzler , Bunkered and Stylist. It also owns genealogy business Find My Past and data storage specialist Brightsolid..

The firm said its media business had a “strong” year despite operating in challenging markets.

“Newspapers have had a successful period, with The Press and Journal and The Courier topping the table as the largest-selling regional daily newspapers in the UK,” the firm said.

“Overall, newspaper circulation revenues were £33.4m, a 2.2% drop on 2018 while advertising sales fell by 7.6%.

“Magazine sales for the year were £46.1m, an increase of £3.6m driven by revenues from the newly-acquired Aceville stable of 40 magazine titles and two radio stations based in Colchester.

“DC Thomson believes in the longer-term future of the media business, evidenced by recent launches and acquisitions,” said the company.

“These acquisitions have added to DC Thomson Media’s local radio portfolio with Original 106 and Kingdom FM joining Wave FM and largely mirroring the geographical footprint of the daily newspapers.”

In April, DC Thomson acquired PSP which runs a number of leisure and sports related events in Scotland and publishes golf magazine Bunkered.

The company said its puzzle magazines had been “resilient” . Puzzler Media continues to be the UK’s market leader with a 47% share.

Wild & Wolf, which earns 70% of its revenues overseas, saw sales grow by 13% while cloud services firm Brightsolid picked up new business worth £1.7m.

“With state-of-the-art data centres and strong competencies in both private and public cloud services, the Brightsolid business is well positioned to deliver hybrid cloud managed services to the Scottish market,” the firm added.

Find My Past continues to invest in its archive, with work under way to digitise the UK 1921 Census – a national collection of almost 38 million names that offers a picture of life in the UK just after the First World War.

The Beano comic, which celebrated its 80th birthday, grew its sales by 10% and sold a children’s live action show to Sky TV.

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