'Metro' boom lifts Daily Mail group

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A good performance from the freesheet Metro has helped offset the difficulties of the London Evening Standard, the owner of the two papers, Daily Mail & General Trust, disclosed yesterday.

The Standard has seen its circulation fall 5 per cent year on year and classified advertising revenues have also suffered, with the recruitment category down 11 per cent in the five months to the end of February. But DMGT issued a generally optimistic trading update, declaring an increase in display advertising revenue of 5.4 per cent across Associated Newspapers and of 8 per cent at the Standard.

The star turn was Metro, which is distributed from Monday to Friday to commuters who collect copies from dumpbins at train stations in London and the large conurbations. The paper, which is five years old this week, has seen display advertising rise 29 per cent in the five-month period to the end of last month.

The freesheet has also enjoyed a rise of 7 per cent in its distribution year on year, climbing to a new record of 894,000. In a statement, DMGT acknowledged that the respective circulations of Metro and the Standard were an sign of "ever-changing commuter habits".

Teletext, which is part of the group's broadcasting division, is likely to report a 2 per cent fall in advertising revenues for the half year, compared with last year. This is mainly due to a reduced demand for holiday advertising.