Future Publishing reports 45% fall in profits

Magazine publisher says market remains challenging as revenues fall to £68m

Future Publishing, home to titles including Total Film and Classic Rock, has reported a 45% fall in pre-tax profits in the six months to the end of March.

Future said that the market remains challenging, with revenues falling by 4% year on year to £68m. More than a third of its ad revenues came from online sales, with its digital operation making a profit for the first time.

Circulation income, which accounts for more than half (58%) of the company's total revenues, fell 7% to £40m. Advertising revenues fell 4% to £20.4m, of which £7.9m came from online, a 30% increase year on year.

The publisher said sales of digital editions increased tenfold during the period – bringing in more than £100,000 per month – and the company says it has 60 titles on the iPad.

"The arrival of tablets has finally delivered on the promise of mobile accelerating digital consumption," said the Future chief executive, Stevie Spring. "Encouraged by that progress, the board has maintained the interim dividend despite an expectation that the trading conditions for the rest of 2011 will remain challenging."

The UK business, which accounts for 71% of total revenues, saw revenues fall 3%, with earnings before interest, tax and amortisation down slightly to £5.5m.

While circulation revenues fell 4% the publisher was buoyed by the fact that advertising revenue grew 2% "because growth in online advertising exceeded the decline in print advertising". The company said that online advertising growth rocketed 44% year on-year in the six months to the end of March.

The US business had less to cheer about, with losses widening significantly from £600,000 to £2.3m in the period. Total revenue fell by 7% as circulation revenue fell 17% and print advertising plummeted by 25%.

Future said that total advertising revenue fell by 15%, with the growth in digital unable to bridge the gap of the decline in print ads.

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Mark Sweney

The GuardianTramp

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