Future has made £5 million from iPad magazines in a year

Magazine publisher Future hinted it will upgrade its digital strategy at scale later this year, as it announced impressive sales thanks to Apple’sz(s aapl) iTunes Newsstand.

“Sales of digital editions on Apple devices have passed £5 million ($8 million) in the period since the Apple Newsstand was launched in October 2011,” the company reported in Thursday’s interim trading update.

PC Gamer and T3 publisher Future leaped on the launch of Apple’s service last fall, immediately pushing out around 65 digital editions of its special-interest consumer titles, including a couple custom interactive editions.

Prior to Newsstand, Future’s digital magazine business was virtually non-existent and its digital strategy centered on thematic web portals like TechRadar, BikeRadar and GamesRadar.

CEO Mark Wood recently told me: “In March, we were at over 12 million (free) container app downloads, had five million people signed up for marketing messages, which is a lot, and way past half a million sales.”

By May, Future had sold $5 million (£3 million) in digital magazines.

Now some change appears to be coming along with the pace. Thursday’s investor update says:

“At our full-year results in November, we will outline our plans to grow and monetise our global digital audiences, leverage our position as a global leader in tablet products and software and diversify Future’s revenues further.”

Future built an in-house production software called FutureFolio to design its interactive tablet magazines and is trying to license it to rival publishers. We will be watching for any announcements that Future has found clients for the software – which goes up against the likes of Mag+ and Woodwing – thereby adding a new business-services revenue stream to Future’s digital efforts.

The company is also likely to announce plans to launch digital editions in new countries around the world.

Future reached a milestone in Q4 2011 when digital revenue gains made up for print declines for the first time.