FT ad revenues rise as losses fall

The Financial Times appears to be turning the corner of the advertising recession – but it has yet to halt the freeze on hiring new journalists started in 2002.

Losses for the year to June were £6m compared with £15m during the same period last year. According to parent company Pearson Plc’s interim results statement, the paper is on course to lose £12 million this year (down from £32 million).

In the statement Pearson said: “The FT Group is on track to make good profit progress this year. Although advertising at our business newspapers remain erratic from month to month between categories, advertising revenue growth has turned positive for the first half as a whole.”

It also said: “With costs now significantly lower than at any point in the past three years, all of our businesses are in good shape to benefit from further improvement in the corporate advertising environment.”

Newspaper circulation was five per cent down at 427,000 but the number of paying subscribers to FT.com has increased from 57,000 in June 2003 to 76,000 last month.

The Economist, which Pearson owns half of, contributed to the £3 million profit total on FT joint ventures.

Worldwide circulation at the weekly magazine grew four per cent to 943,490.

Advertising revenue was said to be up by three per cent. As a result of the advertising slump of 2002, the FT was forced to cut editorial budgets and through non-replacement the editorial headcount reduced from a worldwide total of 590 to 531.

A spokesman confirmed this week that, with some exceptions, the freeze on recruiting new journalists remains in place.

By Dominic Ponsford

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