UPDATE 1-Publisher Future sees profits soar on digital growth
By Freya Berry
LONDON Nov 22 (Reuters) - British publisher Future on Friday said strong growth in digital revenue and online advertising helped full-year profit soar.
Britain's number one magazine exporter said its statutory pretax profit for the year to the end of September rose more than four-fold, to 5.8 million pounds ($9.37 million), against 2012's 1.1 million pound profit, helped by a 38 percent increase in digital revenue. Online advertising grew 11 percent to constitute 59 percent of total advertising sales, it said.
"That means we've crossed an important threshold with more than half of our advertising revenue coming from digital markets, and that's really a sign of the speed of transition to a digital business model," Future Chief Executive Mark Wood told Reuters.
The figures mark a recovery for the U.K. media group, which reported an 11 percent revenue slump in the six months to the end of March 2013, partly due to a sag in gamer magazine sales as the industry awaited new consoles from Xbox and Sony.
The firm, whose publications include TechRadar, Total Film and Edge videogame magazine, like other publishers has increasingly turned to digital avenues for growth. Print revenues fell 3 percent year-on-year, a slight improvement from 2012's 10 percent fall.
Unique users grew 14 percent to 57.7 million a month, and the company recorded a leap of 18 percent in the United States, driven by the success of TechRadar which now reaches 8.5 million in that country alone.
Releases of the latest Playstation and Xbox has also seen a rally in interest and advertising in gamer magazines.
"There's been a real resurgence in the games market," Wood said, as the group reinstated dividends at 0.2 pence per share.
Unusually, the group has developed its own app software, FutureFolio, which it is now licensing to other firms.
"Digital and Diversified revenues are now one third of the business and we are on a trajectory to maintain this momentum," chairman Peter Allen said in a statement.
The company's shares fell 1.3 pct to 17.18 pounds.
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