FT group profit up 24 per cent as advertising now accounts for third of revenue

The Financial Times’ parent company Pearson has said it expects advertising revenue for the paper “to remain weak and volatile”.

In its interim financial results for the first half of 2013, Pearson reported a 24 per cent rise in operating profit for the FT group, up to £26 million from £21 million in the first six months of 2012, on total sales of £217m (up from £216m).

Pearson also revealed that it could be in line to sell its financial news and analysis website Mergermarket, having appointed investment bank JP Morgan Cazenove to advise on a sale.

The results demonstrated the group’s move away from relying on advertising revenue, according to its statement to the stock market.

Content and services brought in 64 per cent of total revenue for the FT Group, while advertising accounted for 34 per cent.

The FT has also continued to move to a digital-led business model. Its digital subscriptions increased by 14 per cent compared to the same period last year to stand at 343,000.

Mobile readership has also grown, accounting for more than half of all subscriber content consumption and a third of total page views.

Digital subscriptions at Pearson’s Investor Chronicle title were also significantly higher, growing by 45 per cent to 11,528.

Overall, profit at the group, which includes Penguin and a sizeable international education business, was down 26 per cent from £186 million to £137 million, on sales of £2.76bn (up from £2.58bn).

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