Managing director says Future is looking bright

Price: ‘I don’t see any closures’

Future Publishing’s managing director Robert Price has pledged to launch up to six titles and does not foresee any closures at the company this year.

Price, who was appointed head of UK business last week, said there were no plans to close any titles, despite huge drops in circulation in last month’s ABCs.

Future’s computing titles fell sharply, with PC Answers down 22.6 per cent, PC Format down 21 per cent and PC Plus down 21.9 per cent yearonyear. A number of the games titles also took a hit – PS2 Gaming Max was down 34.9 per cent and PSM 2 fell 37.6 per cent.

Price said Future was still feeling the effects of the dot coms. “I think it’s a sector that has had its problems and still has its problems following the dot com bust, but having said that we grew our share of the market. Those conditions may not improve this year, but we are in a great position when they do improve,” he said.

“I see a flat year, perhaps, but I don’t see any closures. I would be surprised if we close any magazines this year,” he told Press Gazette.

“Our financial results, which were announced last week, were very strong and I think we are now in a position to move our UK business on quite aggressively.”

Price said Future would invest heavily in core titles such as Official PlayStation 2, Redline, Windows XP and Digital Camera. “We are looking at launches and we would be disappointed if we didn’t get five or six out this year,” he said.

Future will look at new sectors as well as existing ones.

Price said the third priority was expanding the staff and new acquisitions.

“We are on a very strong financial footing and we believe there is an opportunity for us to acquire and perhaps get some more talent,” he said.

“We are going to be working very hard to develop our people over the next year to 18 months. There will be a lot of opportunity at Future and clearly, training is an integral part of that.”

Future is in acquisition talks with “a couple” of publishers at present, some involving company takeovers, others individual titles.

Price cited games, digital and motoring among the areas with most potential, but said there were also opportunities to launch more music-making titles, following the success of Total Guitar, which showed a 12.1 per cent ABC increase to 43,113.

Having joined Future in 1998, Price was promoted to group publisher of Future’s games division and then publishing director of its entertainment division. His most recent post was publishing director of the entertainment and games divisions, where he was responsible for about half of the company’s 60 UK magazines.

By Ruth Addicott

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