Earnings: GCap Doubles Annual Online Revenue To £1.6 Million

Commercial radio leader GCap managed to grow year-on-year online revenue by 50 percent (£800,000), interim results for the six months to September 30 show. Join the dots and the company pulled in £1.6 million from the web over the year.

Initiatives: It claims to be “ahead of targets for interactive revenue and unique users”. In the release, CEO Ralph Bernard said the offering had been strengthened with site redesigns and the personalised radio player mi-Xfm. In truth, this summer’s station redesigns were merely a new lick of paint to marry the sites with the new group branding until a full-scale overhaul next year, while mi-Xfm – which was trialled with Xfm and will be rolled out group-wide – is so far a limited alternative to feature-rich personalised music players like Yahoo’s (NSDQ: YHOO) Launchcast and Last.fm (it didn’t work for me after I consented to give it my address and mobile number to register).

Investment: The results recommit GCap to the online investment strategy announced in May. Then, it announced an extra £2.1 million (on top of £2.5 million for 2007/08 and £5.9 million for 2008/09) to radically improve the portfolio of station websites – all aimed at piggybacking the online advertising boom to drive up web revenue to an undisclosed target by 2010. Today, however, the results talk of “an additional £2.5 million year on year” for online. Earlier this week, the company said it was tripling online sales staff from five to 15.

Technology: Could IP overtake DAB? GCap warns: “There could be a risk that digital radio fails to replace analogue transmission or is
overtaken by alternative technologies.” But stresses it’s continually monitoring new technology opportunities.

Overall: Group-wide adjusted profit for the half slipped back from last year’s £5.8 million to £5.6 million, though revenue was up 4.5 percent to a nice round £100 million. It expects big things from its recently-inked deal to sell ads for GMG Radio stations. Meanwhile, 25 years after he became head of the GWR subsidiary, Ralph Bernard said he was resigning as GCap CEO, though he will remain chairman of Classic FM and the Digital One DAB multiplex (via release). The market didn’t like it – GCap shares were down 8.41 percent to 141.50 pence by 10.05am GMT.

Release and financials