Like all media groups the Daily Mail-owner has seen advertising suffer during the pandemic © REUTERS

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DMGT, the owner of the Daily Mail, has suffered another severe fall in advertising since November after the most recent lockdowns battered its free sheet newspapers and events business.

Underlying group revenue fell 15 per cent in the first quarter of its financial year, as the pressure of the pandemic hit the company’s events business and newspaper titles.

Print advertising at the group fell 38 per cent in the three months to December 31, principally because of a big fall in readership for the Metro newspaper, a free sheet hit particularly hard by movement restrictions.

Overall advertising fell 16 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with digital revenues rising 8 per cent because of a stronger performance from MailOnline.

The company, whose controlling shareholder is Lord Rothermere, said that “excluding Metro” its advertising performance “would have been in line with the prior year” on a like-for-like basis. It added the pandemic made it difficult to predict the short-term outlook for its property, media and events businesses.

Almost half of the group’s revenues come from its data, events and education technology business, which reported a patchy performance during the latest phase of the pandemic.

Underlying business to business revenues fell by 17 per cent, with events down 92 per cent while like-for-like sales at DMGT’s insurance risk arm were flat. This was partly offset by a stronger performance at DMGT’s property information businesses, which grew by 18 per cent.

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