The digital publishing side of Future’s media business has proved increasingly important, according to its Interim Management Statement for the period from October 1st 2011 to Feb 8th, incorporating the Group's Q1 for the three months ended December 31st 2011.
Q1 saw Group digital revenues grow 41 per cent – now 17 per cent of overall Group revenues, compared with 11 per cent for the year ended September 30th 2011.
The UK – now making up three quarters of Future’s business – saw revenue dip two per cent, due “chiefly as a result of the loss of a customer publishing contract”.
Digital circulation and advertising revenues grew by 51 per cent and offset net declines in print-related revenues, something which Future acknowledged is ‘an important milestone in the evolution of the business’.
Total revenues in the quarter were down seven per cent, due chiefly by declining print revenues in the US. Across the Atlantic, Future sold its US music titles and underwent a programme of cost reductions. US revenues were down 20 per cent, but again digital revenues were up – by 24 per cent – and overall digital advertising made up 45 per cent of all advertising revenues. Future said the US business is on track to return to profitability by 2013.
"The new management team is delivering fast digital growth and restructuring our US business in line with the strategy outlined in November,” said Future chief exec Mark Wood. “We are pleased that cost-saving initiatives have fully offset the anticipated reduction in revenues.
"We are starting to see a significant change in the shape of the business as our digital innovation enables us to reach entirely new consumers in global digital markets. The period has confirmed Future's position as a recognised leader in the transition to digital publishing."
In terms of outlook, Future said print sales will remain challenging, but that it expects digital revenue to maintain a 'vigorous growth rate'.
Revenues from tablets and other mobile devices are expected to show continued growth as the number of devices proliferates. Future has over 65 digital editions available through the Apple Newsstand for iPads and iPhones, more than any other publisher, it said. It added that it has seen ten million downloads of its cost-free apps since then, generating 4.9 million opt-ins to receive our push messages and sales of over 430,000 digital magazines. 80 per cent of downloads are outside the UK and over 90 per cent are to new customers. Over 40 per cent of all sales are subscriptions.