FT ‘Exceeded 2009 Targets’, As Owner Pearson Raises Forecast

Pearson (NYSE: PSO) says its Financial Times Group “ended the year ahead of our expectations” in a preliminary statement ahead of its 2009 earnings report on March 1.

“Our subscription-based revenues remained resilient and the tough market conditions for advertising revenues began to show some signs of easing in the fourth quarter,” the company says.

FT spent the second half of last year boasting about its own, long-ago-erected paywall, trying to lead the debate that Murdoch opened in August. In the rush to free of 2007, it let readers consume up to 30 free articles a month before having to subscribe, but has now cut back to under 10.

Editor Lionel Barber said last month: “We reckon (this) year will be the first year that revenues from content overtake revenues from print advertising. The way things are evolving, content revenues should overtake all advertising revenues by 2012.”

Pearson overall is now raising its earnings-per-share expectation by 10 percent CEO Marjorie Scardino: “We’re heartened by our performance in the face of the economic downturn, and emboldened by the accelerating worldwide take-up of our brand of personal and digital learning.

“We are not counting on any help from the global economy this year, but we still see significant long-term growth opportunities and we are pressing ahead with this successful strategy.”