Stevie Spring: New product development will drive Future

New product development will be the key business driver fo consumer magazine publisher Future, chief executive Stevie Spring said today as the company unveiled a positive set of financial results.

Future reported this morning that adjusted year-on-year adjusted profits rose nine per cent in the 12 months to the end of September on total revenue of £151.5m

Tomorrow Future will launch Tap, a new title focusing on technology created by Apple which will launch simultaneously in print, online and as a paid-for iPhone app.

The group may still draw 58 per cent of revenue from consumers actively purchasing magazines but digital now accounts for a quarter of all ad revenue at Future and is growing.

Over the 12 months to the end of September digital ad revenue rose eight per cent year on year to £11.5m, the company said today, but in the second half of the year Future UK witnessed digital ad revenue rise 30 per cent as total ad revenue rose nine per cent.

In the US the story is similar, digital ad revenue rose 19 per cent year-on-year in the second half against an eight per cent overall ad revenue increase.

Spring told Press Gazette that while Future would remain ‘platform agnostic”, the group was excited by the progress of its digital business and the potential offered by an explosion in interest in mobile devices and would look to cater for audiences keen to connect with content on smartphone and tablet devices.

Future launched several apps over the course of the last year, Spring said, with more in the pipeline as mobile publication offered publishers a simple payment mechanism while the iPad lent itself well to displaying new forms of content.

Digital publication also helped level the playing field between smaller and bigger publishers looking for new audiences, Spring said, as she highlighted how new digital revenue streams had begun to gain traction.

‘Take TechRadar, for example. We launched this website from scratch three years ago and it is now the UK’s biggest consumer technology news and reviews website with over 3.5m unique visitors every month,’she said.

‘It has grown revenues by 58 per cent year-on-year, which has pushed gross margin above 30 per cent, and is heading for a record-breaking next quarter.

‘TechRadar best illustrates how we’re creating content informed by data on consumer need; searchable and shareable by the communities it serves; and attractive to clients who wish to trade with those communities.

‘Increasingly, content is being consumed on the move. And, again, we’ve made real progress in developing content for mobile platforms.

‘This is an area of huge potential: sales of digital versions of our magazines have increased ten-fold in the six months to July 2010.

‘We launched bespoke interactive iPad editions for MacLife and T3. Within days, MacLife’s iPad edition topped the Apple charts on both sides of the Atlantic and went on to exceed 400,000 downloads.

‘T3 was number one in the UK at launch. We now have nine phone apps bringing us closer to our readers. And we’re upgrading our websites to make them more mobile friendly.”

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