Trinity Mirror becomes latest publisher to launch deals site to up digital revenues

Daily deals

Publishing group Trinity Mirror is investing USD10m into a new daily deals site, ‘happli‘, as it explores new digital business models in an attempt to offset shrinking print sales. The firm, which publishes more than 100 titles, is also launching tablet editions of the Daily Mirror and Daily Record for less than USD10m per month as it targets higher digital revenues. The group is following in the footsteps of other large publishing groups, including Guardian Media Group, which are increasingly investing in digital formats as news consumptions continues to head online.

Trinity Mirror says its happli deals service will enable it to cement its existing relationships with local advertisers. The firm is forecasting that the Groupon-like service, which it has been piloting in Manchester and Newcastle, will generate annual revenues of around USD20m by 2014 and cover more than 50 cities. The group is not the first to make the jump from newspapers to daily deals, with a recent Pew study suggesting that daily deals accounted for 5% of total digital revenue at newspapers, up from 1% in 2011. Two-thirds of those polled by Pew say they expect to generate an increasing share of their digital revenues from deals this year.

“While advertising markets have been challenging, we are encouraged that we have broadly maintained advertising volume market share for all out national titles,” says CEO Sly Bailey.

The move into daily deals is being greeted with mixed reactions. Despite the current popularity of daily deals services, concerns are growing over long-term growth in the market. A recent report from Daily Deal Media claims that the number of daily deals sites globally fell by 798 in the second half of 2011 alone, as consumer interest begins to wane. There are also fears that daily deals could be a ‘fad’ as advertisers become increasingly dissatisfied with offers that don’t lead to consumer loyalty.

The news comes as Trinity Mirror is reporting a 40% profit fall to GBP74m (USD116m) for 2011, hampered by a GBP22m (USD34.5m) hike in printing costs last year. Nationally, the group’s revenues tumbled 2% from GBP761.5m (USD1.2bn) to GBP746.6m (USD1.17bn) in the period.

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