Earnings: Future Sets £5 Million For Online In ’08; Majority Of All Investment

Future Publishing (LSE: FUTR) grew online ad revenue 50 percent in the year to September 30, and that source now comprises 14 percent of the magazine group’s total advertising base. That’s broadly in line with how everyone else is growing at the moment, if slightly ahead (rival Emap’s (LSE: EMA) online revenue grew 23 percent in the second half of that year).

Games: Typically, online advertising in the games titles is up by more – 55 percent – and represents 28 percent of their overall ad revenue. GamesRadar doubled its US revenue, credited to “innovative” ad initiatives like online games for clients.
Investment: The group said it invested £11.5 million in online through the year – £4.6 million on a net basis, however. This was more than planned. What changed? The arrival of four new online directors, who presumably cracked whip, leading to the acquisitions of niche web news communities Bikely and CyclingNews – both of which were integrated in to Future’s BikeRadar portal, which got over five million ad impressions through the Tour de France in July.
Launches; New portals will be launched for technology, design and music in 2008, continuing the trend of aggregating individual magazine brands under umbrellas catering to passions. Net online investment for 2008 will be £5 million and online is where the “majority of our investment focus” will be.

Licenses: New licenses to be the official Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Nintendo publisher in the US certainly helped, too – Future is now the official publisher for all three consoles both at home in the UK and in America.

Overall, Future turned a £34 million operating loss in to a £12.1 million operating profit, while last year’s £36.7 million pre-tax loss became a £9.2 million pre-tax profit. Less money came in overall, though – revenue down from £188.1 million to £165.7 million. These figures include the 51 “under-performing” titles the group shut down, however. In its statement, it describes itself as a “prosumer” publisher, targeting “professional consumers”.

Release | Financials