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DMGT hit by pandemic

Person reading a Daily Mail newspaper.

The owner of the Daily Mail, MailOnline, the i and Metro saw print advertising revenue plunge by 69% and digital income fall by almost a fifth in the three months to the end of June as the coronavirus lockdown hammered publishers.

Daily Mail & General Trust said that the 17% reduction in total digital revenues came despite an impressive boost of well over a third in traffic to its main digital property, MailOnline, as readers sought out news about the health emergency in record numbers.

The company said.

“Since March, the impact of Covid-19 has resulted in a pronounced reduction in advertising revenues across both print and digital formats,”

“Growth in online traffic has helped mitigate the impact on digital but not enough to compensate for the overall reduction in advertising spend”.

Overall DMGT’s consumer media division saw total advertising fall 45% and newspaper sales drop 12% across the quarter, as brands put marketing budgets on hold and high streets shut as the nation went into lockdown.

The company also split out the performance of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, which saw overall advertising decrease by a third across the period, with print ads down 55%.

In May, the Daily Mail overtook The Sun to become Britain’s biggest selling newspaper. Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid had been the nation’s most popular newspaper since 1978.

UK national newspapers are expected to lose as much as £182m in circulation revenue and £330m in advertising, despite many seeing record levels of digital traffic as the public seeks out news relating to the health emergency.

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Small investors have been spending lockdown taking punts on volatile stock markets, boosting trading at online investment firms IG Group and AJ Bell.

IG Group said pre-tax profits surged 52% to £296m over the year to May, after average daily trade volumes reached 1m at the peak of the Covid-19 market sell-off in March. That is three times higher than average trade volumes of 336,000 recorded a year earlier.

The firm said it attracted 96,900 new customers over the financial year, while the number of active customer traders rose 34% to 239,600. It helped the trading platform, which makes most of its income from transaction fees, record a 36% rise in net trading revenue to £649m.

While some customers will have lost money on their market bets, IG stressed that it “does not benefit from client trading losses, nor is it exposed to client trading profits.”

Investment firm AJ Bell said it brought in another 20,370 platform customers in the three months to 30 June, pushing its total customer pool up 8% for the quarter to 282,619.