Future profits rise despite flat UK revenues

Specialist magazine publisher Future has reported a three per cent rise in pre-tax profits this year – but said revenues from its UK titles were flat compared with 2007.

Announcing its end-of-year results this morning, the SFX and Total Film publisher said group revenue on a like-for-like basis rose two per cent to £162.9m.

However, most of this growth came from the US, with UK revenues flat around the £115m mark.

The company said web traffic had almost doubled since 2007 and now stood at 18 million monthly unique users. This figure has not been de-deduplicated and was reached by adding together the audiences for each site.

Online advertising revenue did not grow at the same rate – up 35 per cent year on year from £6.9m to £9.3m, accounting for 18 per cent of Future’s total ad income.

Future is three years into a turnaround plan implemented by chief executive Stevie Spring that has seen the publisher save £9.3m in costs – including £2.7m this year.

Spring said the company had made a “satisfactory” start to the new financial year and said advertising bookings for the three months from October to December were, so far, down five per cent on the same period last year.

“During 2009 we will invest appropriately within the context of a cautious view of the economic backdrop,” she said.

“Thanks to the measures we set in place over the last two years, the robustness of our strategy and our proven cost flexibility we are confident that the business is in the best shape it can be to deal with whatever challenges lie ahead.”

She added: “We are not complacent that this resilience will survive through uncertain times, but we are sufficiently flexible and fleet of foot to adapt to any changes as they arise.

Future makes 80 per cent of its magazine sales on the newsstand – with the remaining 20 per cent coming from subscriptions.

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