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Daily Mirror publisher expects to exceed annual profit target on digital power

By Reuters

(Reuters) – Reach Plc said on Thursday its annual operating profit would come in above market expectations after the publisher of Britain’s Daily Mirror reported strong revenue growth from its digital business for the first four months of the year.

The company, whose titles also include the Daily Express and a stable of regional newspapers, said revenue from the digital business rose 35% for the period ended April 25 and the number of registered customers rose to 6.2 million, putting the company on track to hit 10 million by the end of 2022.

However, total print revenue dropped 10.4% and circulation fell 7.9% as newspaper sales continued to slump.

Reach, which cut about 550 jobs last year after the pandemic hit circulation and advertising at its newspapers, said on a two-year growth rate basis, the company’s digital revenue rose 41.3%, while print revenue declined 24.3%.

“With digital now accounting for more of our advertising revenues than print and growing strongly, we are well placed to make further progress during 2021,” CEO Jim Mullen said in a statement.

In March, the Canary Wharf-headquartered company said most of its staff across all its over 110 titles and 70 regional websites would continue to work from home even after coronavirus restrictions are lifted in the UK, helping it further cut costs.

The latest company compiled view of market expectations shows consensus adjusted operating profit of 137.1 million pounds for 2021.

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)