A ‘pre-close trading update‘ from Future provides a few interesting snippets, amongst which are:
- revenues expected to be 6% down year on year
- UK revenue expected to be 2% down
- £3.5million cash cost of axing 10% of workforce
- £1.4 million provision for having empty offices because they’ve axed 10% of workforce
A possible significant paragraph is in the middle of the release:
In July the Group announced steps to accelerate the transition of Future US into a primarily digital business. However, with trading conditions in the US reflecting ongoing weakness and decreasing visibility at newsstand, and an acceleration in the year-on-year growth rate in digital revenues, the Board is now considering a wider range of strategic options in respect of its US operations.
Does this mean that Future are considering either a) closing all magazines immediately (perhaps operating websites with a skeleton US staff and UK feeds) or even b) flogging off the whole operation to a
mug punter US publisher.
Look at the first two points from Future’s statement again – overall revenue down 6%, UK down 2%. The UK is 70% of Future’s business, so if Private Frazer’s abacus is correct, that means that US revenues are down 15% or more on last year – a significant deterioration in their trading performance.
A trading statement from Future reports revenues that are declining faster than expected, and the Blessed Stevie makes the ultimate sacrifice – she’s going to fire a whole load of people on both sides of the Atlantic. No news on what her pay rise is going to be this year.
So what now for Future’s titles? Which are they going to decide are rooted in the past and have to be ‘recalibrated’ (Stevie’s new euphemism for ‘sacking people’).
A strong rumour has it that PC Format (2010 ABC 9,318, down 21% yoy) is looking down the barrel, but there are several more which seem to have been on life support for some time. In technology, you can take your choice from What Laptop (6,585, down 20%), Computer Arts Projects (6,647 down 20%) and PC Plus (13,727, down 21%) all of which would seem to be long overdue a ‘reorganisation’. Motoring has my perennial favourite Fast Car (19,004 down 27%), Redline (9,623 down 26%), plus the almost utterly pointless Fast Ford and Total Vauxhall; and the music magazines contains three guitar titles, all of which are losing sales.
Gossip from Future should be directed towards firstname.lastname@example.org and watch this space.
News from our colonial cousins, courtesy of AdAge
One way or another… magazines keep selling fewer copies.
…overall paid and verified circulation [fell] 1.2% in the second half of 2010, compared with the second half of 2009, … That follows trims of 2.3% in the first half of 2010, 2.2% in the second half of 2009, 1.2% in the first half of 2009 and nearly 1% in the second half of 2008.
Newsstand sales… fell at a faster rate this time after slowing their decline for a couple of periods in a row.
Single-copy sales fell 7.3% in the second half of 2010 compared with the second half of 2009, a bigger drop than the 5.6% decline that came in the first half of last year. Newsstand sales previously plunged 9.1% in the second half of 2009, 12.4% in the first half of 2009 and 11.1% in the second half of 2008.
[i.e. US newsstand sales are nearly 40% down in three years]
Running counter to the hope that advertising might be picking up in the US, is this wee bit of news courtesy of Folio:
Consumer magazines continued its general circulation decline through the first half, with total paid and verified circ. slipping 2.27%, … Newsstand sales also continued to dive, falling 5.63%.
After months of chipping away at its US portfolio, with small sales here and closures there, Reed Elsevier announced today that it is closing down the magazines it has not been able to sell or does not intend to keep. In total, the number of magazines to be closed down is 23. From Folio:
How cold the wind blowing from the west will be is the question that must be going through the minds of the boys and girls in Sutton.
Still gloom and doom for US B2B publishers according to the latest American Business Media figures as reported in Folio: Last year advertising pages for trade magazines fell 28.6% compared to 2008, with estimated ad revenues down 24%.
Latest news from our American cousins. And guess what? It isnae good.
The Publishers Information Bureau has released its 2009 year-end magazine advertising report. It revealed that ad pages for 2009 were down 25.6%, while estimated revenues closed at $19.45 billion, a drop of 18.1%. That makes 10 quarterly falls out of eleven since mid 2007.
Even comparing the 4th quarter of 2009 with the very grim end of 2008 ad pages were down 21% and revenues over 12% off. Does anyone fancy calling the bottom of this market? 2011? 2012? Never?
Down, down, deeper and down for consumer publishers in the US according to the Publishers Information Bureau (courtesy of Folio:)
During the third quarter 2009, [advertising] pages fell 26.6% compared to the same period last year. Estimated ad revenues for the third quarter closed at $4.53 billion, down 18.6%.
That 18.6% equates to $1 billion by the way. So that’s a billion down compared to the third quarter last year, which weren’t no bed of flowering heather to begin with.
Still no respite from ad carnage in the USA. The analysis of the October-dated monthlies by the Media industry Newsletter shows:
As in previous months, ad pages … were down across the board, affecting every category and virtually every major title. Out of 155 monthly titles tracked by MIN, 131 (84.5%) saw ad pages decline in October; of these, 111 (71.6% of the total) saw ad pages decline more than 10% for the month, 76 (49%) saw ad pages decline more than 20%, 42 (27.1%) saw ad pages decline more than 30%, and 22 (14.2%) saw ad pages decline more than 40%.
Laest news from the US of A, courtesy of Folio:
Trade magazine advertising pages fell 30.2% through the first half of 2009, according to American Business Media’s Business Information Network numbers… Revenues, meanwhile, were down 26.5%.
Combined, magazine and trade show revenues declined 22.3%, ABM said.