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Imagine to invest £1.5m in online publishing

Imagine Publishing has announced plans to invest GBP 1.5 million of revenues earned by the company's print magazines in developing its 15 websites.

Imagine Publishing has announced plans to invest GBP 1.5 million of revenues earned by the company's print magazines in developing its 15 websites.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz managing director Damian Butt said, "We've already got in-built markets and loyal readers. We want to give those communities extra opportunities for interactivity and offer a more multimedia approach.

"I wouldn't pretend we're going straight up against the sites that have been established for many years, but there are significant opportunities for us."

Imagine plans to develop "more far-reaching" websites for its 20 magazines, including Play, X360 and Games TM. Sites will also be launched alongside new magazines which have yet to be announced.

The investment will be spent on developing Imagine's IT infrastructure, hosting, hiring new staff and acquiring new office space, with the aim of "remaining at the cutting edge of publishing".

According to Butt, the GBP 1.5 million has come not from external investors but from Imagine's own earnings. "It's all money that we already have. Imagine is fiercely cash generative," he stated, adding that the only financial results for the company to be published so far included startup costs.

Butt went on to confirm that the new focus on online media won't detract from Imagine's print publishing business. "We're going to focus on both, which means a lot more work. We already have a sizeable print portfolio and a position in all the key markets - we're number one or number two in every market - so for print it's all about making sure we continue to perform well.

"The magazines are up to the quality we want now, and it's time for the online side to start matching up."

Imagine's print publishing rival, Future, already has an online presence with specialist sites such as Games Radar. But Butt said there's "no way" Imagine will be taking the same approach.

"People's views of Games Radar are well documented all over the net - we're going to do something entirely different," he said.

"Their approach doesn't interest us, and there's no way we would go for that skater-boy style. We want to create high quality sites that offer a high level of reader interactivity."

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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