Future wants to put the past behind it

Steve Dinneen
Follow Steve
PUBLISHING giant Future saw its revenue slip but says the tide is turning after an “annus horribilis” last year.

Adjusted pre-tax profits at the firm rose 13 per cent to £3.6m in the six months to 31 March while revenue dipped seven per cent to £71.4m.

But chief executive Stevie Springer says the outlook for the firm is improving despite choppy economic waters.

Springer told City A.M.: “I feel like we may be turning a corner. The macro environment is unlikely to be benign, with the debt crisis, inflation, uncertainty over the new government, the prospect of tax increases and fragile consumer confidence. These factors all affect behaviour so they are bound to impact on business.”

She added: “But Future is better placed than any other publisher to overcome this. We’re much closer to the business to business model in the confidence and loyalty our products have. This is why we can charge double the average price.”

Advertising revenue increased in the second fiscal quarter after a torrid time last year.

The games division of the company continued to struggle, with a third fewer “grade A” releases this year compared to last.

Active, technology and music & movies performed better.

Springer says the firm has a robust digital strategy comprising both pay and free content. She said: “We’re running the gamit of experimentation in digital. But things are always ‘right for right now’ with digital as things are constantly changing. We will try anything, but we will never bet the farm.”

However, she was sceptical about Rupert Murdoch’s online strategy, saying the gamble on convincing people to pay for “perishable” news is unlikely to pay.