Future plans £6.7m web investment

Future is to invest £6.7m in its web strategy next year, more than half of its planned new product development spend, as it seeks to stabilise the business after announcing pre-tax losses of £49m in the last financial year.

The publisher's profits fell by a third to £13.7m in the year to 30 September, which it blamed on lower sales and ad revenues from its games magazines and the underperformance of titles it had acquired, particularly those from Highbury.
In her first presentation to the City, recently-appointed chief executive Stevie Spring said Future had abandoned a policy introduced in 2004 to double in size and would now focus on strengthening its focus on magazines and websites appealing to young men.
"Over the past two years, we spent all of our money on acquisitions to fill in gaps, but they didn't deliver," she said. "It's clear that our core business needed time and cash and we will be moving staff into our growth areas wherever we can."
Following the launch of technology and action sports portals, Future will next launch umbrella sites devoted to music and cycling.
The publisher has closed or sold 38 UK magazines in the past financial year, including 16 puzzle titles acquired from Highbury, and six titles in the US. It has also sold its Italian business in a management buy-out and now plans to focus solely on English language brands.
Future said it expected modest growth in like-for-like revenues in the next financial year, with a bias towards the second half of the year.

 

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