PA Media revenue up in 2020 after Alamy buyout despite Covid-19

PA Media reports revenue and profit boost for 2020 despite pandemic challenges

PA Media revenue

Revenue at PA Media Group in 2020 was up by a quarter on the year before despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

PA Media Group reported revenue of £90.1m last year. This is up 23% from £73.1m in 2019, according to new Companies House filings.

The group is divided into three areas: content such as the PA newswire and production services, data including racing services and sports data, and other media-related businesses such as PA Training and marketing consultancy Sticky.

The group put the increase in revenues partly down to its acquisition of Alamy in February of last year, which took it into the stock imagery market for the first time.

Chief executive Clive Marshall said in the report that PA plans to continue investing in areas aligned with its “strategic goals” that will drive growth and revenue diversification. The group wants to consolidate its position as “the UK’s leading provider of cross-platform news, sport and entertainment data, content and services”.

Most of the group’s revenues come from recurring subscriptions and sporting rights licenses, the majority of which have a one to three-year term.

Also in 2020 PA Media Group increased its shareholding in the video streaming company StreamAMG to 100% after initially buying a 61% stake in 2017.

Pre-tax profit was down 87% from £38.4m to £5m but this was because, in 2019, the figure included £34.9m relating to the profit on the sale of PA’s former headquarters in London Victoria as it moved to a new site in Paddington (pictured). Excluding this figure, profit before tax grew 43% in 2020 from £3.5m.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew by 59% to £15.4m from £9.7m in 2019 while operating profit was up 62% to £5.2m.

The biggest disruption to PA Media caused by the pandemic was the halting for several months of live sporting fixtures. Revenue streams in the sports data business began to normalise once the UK lockdown lifted and sport resumed.

PA was expecting recovery and growth to continue in its core markets throughout the second half of 2021, citing the vaccine rollout.

PA is one of several media organisations, including the FT, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Spectator, that initially furloughed staff but later paid back the Government cash in full after doing better than expected. It had claimed £1.3m.

The accounts also revealed PA Media Group has not yet seen any material impact from the UK leaving the European Union.

The average number of staff employed each month increased from 884 in 2019 to 1,016 with staff costs up 8% to £43.4m.

Net assets were at £72.2m at the end of 2020 compared to £71.7m one year earlier. No dividends were approved or paid in 2020.

Picture: PA

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