The group says its active, technology and music & movies categories “continued to show resilience,” while games titles experienced “tough comparatives and a very challenging market” which saw 40% fewer AAA or A rated games released compared to the previous year.
Circulation revenue fell 4% in the UK during the quarter, an improvement on the 7% drop posted in Future’s full year trading update in November.
In the UK, which accounts for over two-thirds of Future’s turnover, “the strength of our special-interest portfolio” has protected the company from “the worst of the media recession.
Despite signs of a return of confidence Future expects 2010 to “remain challenging” with low growth rates and advertising budgets.
In the US, circulation revenue fell 13% against 26% in full year results and the company says newsstand sales have stabilized.
Customer publishing revenues increased 10% year-on-year and subscriptions to new launch title World of Warcraft are 30% up on forecasts.
Future chief executive Stevie Spring, says: “We expected the first quarter to be tough, and that has proven to be the case particularly in our Games segment. We expect trading to remain under pressure throughout 2010, so we are managing the business appropriately, while also ensuring our strategy remains on track. However, there have been some very robust performances throughout the business and I remain confident that Future is as well positioned as it can be to benefit from any economic recovery.”