Friday 22 May 2020 7:28 am

Future's profit jumps 77 per cent as consumers turn to online publications

Publishing group Future has reported a 77 per cent increase in profit in the first half of the year, as consumers turned to its digital offering amid the coronavirus crisis.

The company had a record-breaking 329m online users in March 2020, as global lockdowns upended traditional distribution.

Read more: Future completes TI Media takeover as Covid-19 hits magazine sales

The figures

Adjusted operating profit for the six months ended 31 March 2020 jumped 77 per cent from £22.6m to £39.9m. The adjusted operating profit margin increased seven percentage points to 28 per cent.

Revenue increased by a third to £144.3m, reflecting the impact of acquisitions which contributed £26m of revenue. Media revenue increased by £39.3m, despite the cancellation of events in March which reduced events revenue in the period by £5.5m.

Operating profit grew £14m to £24.7m, while profit before tax jumped from £8.9m in 2019 to £27.1 in the first half of 2020.

The board has not proposed an interim dividend.

Read more: CMA says Future’s acquisition of TI Media does not raise competition concerns

Why it’s interesting

Future said it had felt the impact of coronavirus, driving an acceleration of audience growth which helped to offset the impact of the slowdown in newstrade as travel stores shut and events were cancelled.

Online users have grow to 253m in the first half of the year, up 26 per cent year-on-year. Future said the global lockdowns resulted in audiences searching for advice and recommendations meaning the group had a record-breaking 329m online users in March 2020, up 66 per cent year-on-year.

Future completed its acquisition of TI Media last month. Today the media company said: “The challenges facing magazines as a result of Covid-19 has required us to pivot some of our thinking around the long term operating model and we are now preparing for the likely acceleration in online readership and a migration of more advertising revenues into digital.”

Listen to our daily City View podcast as we chart the economic fallout and business impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

What Future said

Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne said:

“We are seeing a rapid acceleration in the migration to online with a significant growth in online users looking for both entertainment and advice in their areas of interest as well as a rapid shift towards online retail. Future’s diversified business model, global footprint and strong financial discipline means that we have been able to withstand the immediate challenges of the pandemic.

“Despite the impact of Covid-19, the first half of the financial year has been very strong with adjusted operating profit up 77% and adjusted free cashflows of 100%2 of operating profit. This allows us to continue to invest in the platform through the development of new functionality and new content to drive revenue in the coming months and years. 

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