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UK digital revenue growth makes up for decline in print at Future PLC

UK digital revenue growth makes up for decline in print at Future PLC

Have we reached a turning point in digital growth? Paid Content reported today that the London-based international media group Future PLC managed to offset the decline in its print revenues in the UK with a rise in digital earnings.

The company has just published its Interim Management Statement, analysing its performance between 1 October and 31 December 2011. In the UK, where Future PLC has 75% of its business, digital circulation and ad revenues increased by 51% - enough to make up for a decline in print revenue. The company sees this development as "an important milestone in the evolution of the business".

However, Future PLC also notes that in the UK revenues did decline by 2%, but states that this was "chiefly as a result of the loss of a customer publishing contract".

In the US, revenue fell by 20%, as the company "anticipated", due to shinking print revenues and the closure of some publications. However, digital revenues rose by 24%, and the company claims that the growth in this area, along with cost-cutting measures and the sale of some US properties, should allow it to become profitable in the US again by 2013.

The company expects "vigorous" growth in digital revenues in the future. The report notes that Future has made more digital editions available on Apple Newsstand than any other publisher - over 65 in total. The company claims 10 million downloads of free apps, and sales of more than 430,000 digital magazines. Impressively, the Future writes that "80% of downloads are outside the UK and over 90% are to new customers"

Paid Content sees the fact that Future offset print losses with digital gains in the UK as "an encouraging sign of light at the end of the tunnel for legacy media businesses which have spent years attempting to transition their efforts from analogue to digital."

"Now, for some, the reality may be dawning that, despite many digital products reaping owners dimes rather than dollars when compared with print equivalents, publishing them at scale can nevertheless return a company to pre-digital revenue growth rates," writes the article's author Robert Andrews.

A swift transition from print to digital earnings is not isolated to Future or to the UK. Robert Andrews published another article two days ago, noting that, in China, advertisers are increasingly spending online rather than in print. Andrews cites a report by iResearch, which states that total internet advertising revenue in China reached 51.19 billion yuan in 2011, surpassing total newspaper print ad revenue of 45.36 billion yuan. And the US is expected to follow: eMarketer published a report last month predicting that in the US total digital ad spending would overtake print this year.

Sources: Paid Content (1) (2) Future PLC Interim Management Statement, Global Times, sfn blog


Hannah Vinter


2012-02-08 12:57

Shaping the Future of the News Publishing

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