Future revenues drop but company claims clear strategy for growth

Future, the special interest media group, claims results from its digital offerings provide a strong indication its survival strategy might pay off.

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The company, which owns a breadth of brands from Total Film and TechRadar to T3, saw adjusted pre-tax profit for the year falling 39% to £5.1m on revenue down 6% to £141.7m. However, the UK arm of the operation saw digital revenue jump 36%.

Like rivals such as IPC and Bauer, the company is keen to migrate print revenues to digital via Apple iPad editions and magazine websites. It operates websites in sectors from gaming to cycling and technology and in the past year launched 100 digital titles on the iPad and other tablets.

The biggest hit on Future’s profit came from the US arm, which is lagging behind in developing a digital market. The company says it aims to return the US to profitability by 2013 and will continue to restructure to merge the two operations to “create a single global product line”. Despite speculation Future has given no sign it intends to sell off this division.

The company will pursue high value audiences and says it is an information and entertainment source in fast-growing markets. “Future’s products typically reach affluent enthusiasts who become loyal members of communities around our magazines or digital offerings.”

The UK operation represents 73% of revenues and Future says it has been “resilient in challenging market conditions”, with revenue down 2% compared with a 13% drop for the US.

Total number of magazines sold has dropped from 3.4m to 2.9m and ad revenue losses from print have widened from a 9% fall to a 16% fall. The company has sold or closed a number of titles this year.

Future recently axed a layer of senior management when CEO Stevie Spring resigned in October. The company is now headed by former UK CEO Mark Wood.

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