The update says: “Future’s UK and international licensing business (comprising 70% of Group revenue) has performed well and remains resilient in challenging conditions. As anticipated, it is expected that full-year EBITA will be broadly flat despite a modest decline in annual revenue. This performance is particularly encouraging in a media sector that continues to experience very significant advertising and newsstand challenges and reflects the underlying strength of our special-interest business, our continuing focus on operating performance in each segment and our ability to mitigate revenue disappointments swiftly.
Future’s US business (comprising 30% of Group revenue) is now expected to report a trading loss for the full-year, primarily due to further revenue shortfalls caused by the continuing impact of the unprecedented US newsstand disruption reported earlier in 2009. Our distributor provides us with initial sales estimates when magazines come “off-sale”. These estimates may subsequently be updated based on returns. The newsstand disruption has made forecasting much more difficult than in previous years as many of our US publications stay on sale for several months and we are only now seeing the impact of this. Also in the US, sector-wide softness in non-endemic advertising has yet to improve.
The Board therefore now expects the Group’s results for the year to 30 September 2009 to be towards the lower end of market expectations.
The Group has retained its focus on navigating tough market conditions and has taken proportionate actions to help mitigate these. To help address the specific challenges in North America we have appointed John Marcom Jr as the new President of our US business, effective from October 2009. John brings extensive multi-platform content experience - international, commercial and creative - from previous roles at Yahoo!, the Financial Times, Time Inc. magazines, Forbes Magazine and The Wall Street Journal and we are delighted to welcome him to Future.
The Group is making good progress in implementing its strategy and has continued to invest appropriately in new products. Online, the Group has launched its latest Radar network, photoradar.com. This follows last month’s announcement of an international partnership with Blizzard Entertainment to publish a new quarterly official title, World of Warcraft: The Magazine. This subscription-only magazine will target the 11.5 million paying subscribers of the world’s biggest online multi-player game and is our first ‘publish on demand’ product.
The Group continues to control all costs carefully and maintains a healthy balance sheet.”
Future says: “Future plc is an international special-interest media group that is listed on the London Stock Exchange (symbol FUTR). Founded in 1985 with one magazine, today we have operations in the UK, US and Australia creating over 180 special-interest publications, websites and events for people who are passionate about their interests. We hold strong market positions in games, film, music, technology, cycling, automotive and crafts. Our biggest-selling magazines include T3, Total Film, Digital Camera, Fast Car, Classic Rock, Guitar World, Official Xbox Magazine, Official Playstation Magazine, Nintendo Power, Maximum PC and MacLife. Our websites include gamesradar.com, bikeradar.com, techradar.com, and musicradar.com. Future sells nearly 4 million magazines each month; we attract more than 25 million unique visitors to our websites; and we host 25 annual live events that attract hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts. In addition, Future exports, syndicates or licenses its publications to 90 countries internationally, making us the UK's number one exporter and licensor of monthly magazines.”