Future Publishing: 2007 Topline

Future Publishing continues to make headway under chief executive Stevie Spring.

In year to 30 September 2006, after six successive profit warnings, the company delivered an operating loss of £34m on revenues of £188.1m.

This year, revenues are down to £165.7m. The decline is almost entirely due to closures and sell-offs. But operating profits weighed in at £12.1m.

This is classic turnaround territory. And Spring herself gave investors an earful of the stuff they like to hear. “We did what we said we would do,” said Spring.

“We have re-focused the business on its core and driven out costs, re-investing the savings in those parts of our business – online, core titles, US expansion and partnership publishing – which offer opportunities for above market growth in both sales and margins.”

Future’s online ad revenue growth — up by 50% YOY — won’t do its shares any harm. This is a big increase, well in excess of what the 20% minimum growth expected of all publishers with online operations.

How has the company pulled off this particular trick? Well, part of the answer lies in the baleful state of Future’s online sales before Spring’s arrival. But the City will also give credit where it’s due. Last year, Future invested £5m in new product development and launched new sites with gusto.

Online ad revenue accounted for 15% of all ad revenues during he year ending 30 September 2007. In the context of Future’s entire revenue base, and a magazine portfolio dominated by computer and gaming titles, that’s still rather small. There’s room for development here.

Press Gazette

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