Future Publishing continues digital shift

UPDATE: Share price falls over 20%; "reduced headcount" expected at magazine publisher


Future's share price has now dropped by over twenty per cent since the announcement, and further rumours are circulating about the extent of job losses and closures at the company.

Original story

Future Publishing has issued an interim management statement which shows print business continuing to decline on both sides of the Atlantic, shored up by an improved performance from the group's digital holdings.

The report covers the nine months ending June 30, 2011 and gives some indication of where the company will be focusing in coming years.

Group revenues for that period are estimated to have dropped by five per cent since the same span a year ago, continuing the company's internal expectations. As part of that trend, UK circulation revenues fell by 3 per cent, but increased digital advertising income has made up that shortfall by performing above expectations.

In May 2011 the group's UK digital revenues topped 1 million for the first time.

However, US print sales have been disappointing, suffering from decreased retail opportunities and shrinking advertising budgets. Future is "actively discontinuing subsidised magazine subscriptions" in the US and has had to delay a digital product launch worldwide.

"As a result," reads the report, "the Board has decided to accelerate transition of Future US into a primarily digital business. This process may take 12 to 15 months, to allow time for existing subscriptions and other contractual obligations to be fulfilled."

Also included as guidance in the paper is the expectation of job losses as a result of re-structuring and increased efficiencies.

"The benefit of these steps will be to improve efficiency, reduce headcount, reduce property requirements, and help accelerate the most promising areas of digital product development, " reads a paragraph on "re-structuring and exceptional costs".

The report follows the announcement last month that the group would be "streamlining" UK operations after profits dropped by almost half.

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Latest comments (6)

Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today6 years ago
Awful news all around, especially the staff cuts.
I subscribe to Edge and think the redesign of the print product is very good. I hope the product continues.
And yes, it is nearly impossible to find a copy on any newsstand anywhere in Florida.
My regards to those losing their job.
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Daniel Vardy Studying HND IT, De Montfort University6 years ago
I used to subscribe to GamesMaster UK for about 4 years, but the problem with the internet age is that print news will always be lacking behind the internet.
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With the advent of multiple free digital based news websites, I am guessing advertising is the primary method rather than a digital pay wall for future revenues?
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Paul Taylor Deputy Editor, OPS, Citrus Media6 years ago
See, you don't use print for news, you use it to make content that people can pore over for an extended period of time. You make it look stunning because beyond the usual sections of reviews and opinion columns you don't have to have the same visual structure with shitty animated ads throughout the publication.

Then you need to have a style that people love to read even if you're talking about stuff everyone's already heard about. Even if people have bought the game that you're reviewing they still want to hear what their favourite magazine or writer has to say about it, rather than glancing at a score on some website.

Then you could make it as cheap as possible (give it away if you have to and get advertising to support you), sign a deal with a major retailer and have a circulation that outstrips Time and Sports Illustrated. Actually, that's probably the most profitable thing to do. A bit like a website, right?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Taylor on 18th July 2011 1:08am

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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship6 years ago
I think the problem is a relatively well-known one in the print world - 'analogue dollars, digital dimes'. Online is growing, print is shrinking, but the margins in the print business are much higher - print readers are simply worth more, as they earn both purchase and advertising revenue. Replacing one for the other like-for-like results in shrinking profits.
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Perhaps the way Future runs its print biz needs a rethink.

Afterall, Evening standard, City AM and Metro have made a huge impact in free newspapers, can we not think of a radical biz model and take a leaf perhaps?
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