Pearson sees digital revenues rise across the group

Pearson, owner of FT Group and Penguin, has posted a 13% increase in pre-tax profit to £761m for 2009, with digital activities increasingly contributing to revenue.

Financial Times
Financial Times

Pearson’s adjusted operating profit also rose by 13% to £858m on revenues of £5.6 bn and the company beat analysts’ forecasts.

The company said that digital products and services generated 31% of the company’s sales.

Chief executive Marjorie Scardino says that the company “seized the opportunity to take share in a tough climate, and we increased sales and profits while investing heavily in the future.”

Pearson credits its results to long term investment in organic content; its digital products and services businesses; international expansion and efficiency gains achieved by “overall scale and centralised operations.”

Focusing on FT Group, Scardino says that the business has “significantly shifted towards digital and subscription revenues”

The Group has invested steadily in global and digital businesses including the Financial Times, FT.com and Interactive Data and in 2009 .digital products and services accounted for 73% of FT Group revenues, up from 28% in 2000.

Reliance on advertising has scaled back and it made up 19% of FT Group revenues, down from 52% in 2000.

The group has sold its largely print and advertising-based national media companies, such as FT Deutschland in Germany, and bought digital businesses with international opportunities, such as Mergermarket and Medley Global Advisors.

Scardino says: “Looking ahead, we believe that the FT Group’s premium and global positions, combined with our digital and subscription businesses, put us in a good position to weather tougher economic conditions.

Scardino stressed in a conference call on Monday that the FT is a “pretty integral” part of Pearson. Shares have risen on the back of the results to 930 pence today (1 March).

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