Earnings: Emap Digital Rev Grows A Third, More Digital Focus Coming

Digital revenues at magazine and radio group Emap grew 32 percent to £120 ($236) million for the year ending March 31, on the back of record investment of £25 ($50) million in new product development. Revenue was up four percent at £884 million ($1.7 billion) with profit down one percent to £203 ($400) million, in line with expectations.

Emap this year bought mobile social media platform YoSpace (destined to be used to add user-generated content features to several of its magazines), decided to appoint a digital director for each of its consumer divisions and partnered with Channel 4’s digital radio multiplex bid. It said acquisitions, mainly in B2B digital information and events, totaled £43 ($84) million. Now the strategy for the year ahead will involve “migrating resources onto faster-growth platforms” involving content, community and commerce by increasing its digital activities. For Emap, digital revenue encompasses music TV channels and radio stations, websites and other online and mobile services.

Digital revenue growth in these final results is slightly less than projected in an earlier trading update. Selling off Emap’s French division pulled in £380 ($750) million and the company is also on track to make £20 ($40) million in cost cuts. The company is currently seeking a CEO after the resignation of Tom Maloney last week.

From the conference call: Acting CEO Alan Cathcart said Emap would have £150 ($296) million to £200 ($394) million for acquisitions, with annual spend only limited by investment opportunities. Emap will accelerate digital revenue growth strategies, so far rolled out on its community-heavy golfing and motorcycling online magazine properties, across a broader range of titles (the company this week launched a web version of the popular celeb glossy Heat). Finance director Ian Griffiths said the group had clearly not achieved its objectives but the digital growth was encouraging.

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