Future reports £0.7m pre-tax loss but digital up 37%

  • iPad sales on Apple’s Newsstand pass £3m
  • UK revenue up 1 per cent
  • Company expects US business to return to profit next year

Consumer magazine publisher Future has reported a 4 per cent drop in revenue and pre-tax losses of £0.7m in the six months to 31 March.

While print revenue saw another fall this was partially offset by a 37 per cent leap in digital turnover, up from £7m in 2011 to £9.6m in 2012.

For the first time the company, whose titles inlcude Total Film and Classic Rock, has released figures for iPad editions– revealing that sales had passed £3m since the launch of Apple’s Newsstand in October 2011.

Group revenue was down from £61.5m to £59.1m while print income fell 10 per cent from £50m to £45.1m. Revenue at its customer publishing business was unchanged at £4.4m

Chief executive Mark Wood said: ‘After a period of restructuring and refocusing, we are now seeing Future begin to generate significant revenues from new digital products and activities.

‘Group digital revenues increased by 37 per cent and in the UK digital growth offset the decline in print revenues. Our recovery plan for the US is on track and we will meet our commitment to return the US to profitability within the next 12 months.

“We are confident the momentum now building across the group will ensure we meet our expectations for the full year.’

Wood said that on the iPad, Future was now one of the world’s leading digital publishers in terms of sales volume and by number of titles. ‘That is a sign of how far we have come in a very short time,’he said.

Elsewhere in today’s interim half-year results, UK revenue – which represents 80 per cent of group turnover – was up 1 per cent to £47.8m. Circulation revenue was flat at £30.3m and advertising revenue was up 1 per cent to £12.9.

Revenue from the US business fell 20 per cent to £18.3m following the sale of its New York-based music titles including Guitar World. Circulation revenue overall fell 30 per cent to £7.6m – with print newstrade down 40 per cent.

Advertising revenue was down 9 per cent to £7.1m, including a 28 per cent fall in print ads, but digital advertising was up 11 per cent and now accounts for 59 per cent of total advertising revenue in the US.

The company today confirmed the sale of Trucking and Truckstop News to Kelsey Publishing Limited for up to £1.1m.

Other key figures from today’s report include:

  • Headcount down by 4 per cent (delivering expected savings of £4.5m by the end of the 2012 financial year).
  • US headcount down by 31 per cent
  • Future now claims to attract more than 35m unique visitors a month to its websites and has more than two million Facebook followers for its various brands – which it claims is double the combined level for the whole of the mainstream UK daily press
  • Sales on Apple’s Newsstand platform are running at £0.5m a month. The company has sold more than 830,000 copies on Newsstand and 45 per cent of its sales are subscriptions, with 80 per cent of its tablet market outside the UK.

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