Emap: Consumer magazines 'challenging'

Emap has warned that the outlook for its consumer magazines remains “weak” and “challenging” – with advertising revenue down 11 per cent year on year.

But in an update to the City this morning ahead of its half-year results in November, the magazine and radio giant said overall conditions were “encouraging”.

Emap’s B2B division continues to be its most successful asset, with like-for-like revenue between April and September up an estimated five per cent year on year.

The company has reported “good growth” in B2B information products and events, while the performance of business magazines was “broadly flat”.

Emap’s consumer magazines, meanwhile, have seen an estimated four per cent fall in circulation revenue between April and September, but a number of “efficiency initiatives” had reaped “earlier-than-expected benefits”.

“We anticipate that trading conditions in our consumer magazine markets will continue to be challenging for the rest of our 2008 financial year, although, based on current forward bookings, the second half should show some improvement,” the company said this morning.

Radio revenues were up two per cent overall – with improved performances outside of London offsetting a slump in revenue in the capital.

The company said it “continues to be encouraged” with the progress of its strategic review, announced in May this year following the abrupt departure of chief executive Tom Moloney.

The search for a new chief executive continues in tandem with the review process, with an update expected from Emap when it announces its half-year results in November.

“The board remains focused on examining all options to maximise shareholder value, including a possible sale or demerger of some or all of the constituent parts of the group,” Emap said this morning.

Emap has invested £14m in new product development since April – a large part of which has been directed at the relaunch of First magazine under new editor Jane Ennis.

The group expects to have invested a total of £25m in new product development by the end of the financial year, including digital initiatives in consumer and B2B magazines.

One of those initiatives will be the launch of a new women’s web portal, pooling content from weekly titles such as Grazia, Heat, Closer and First.

The company will announce its half-year results on 13 November.

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