Financial Times owner posts 28% profit jump
Pearson, the publishing group that owns the Financial Times and Penguin, reported a 28% increase in pre-tax profits for 2010, boosted by a strong digital performance from its newspaper sites.
Overall the company reported profits of £670m for the year, with revenues up 8% to £5.66bn.
Pearson marked a 12% year-on-year revenue increase at the FT Group which homes the newspaper and FT.com website to £403m.
The division, which introduced a paywall on its FT.com site in 2009, saw digital paid-for circulation up over 50% to 207,000.
The FT generated over 900,000 downloads of its app on smartphones and tablets, fuelling digital subscriptions.
Overall, group digital revenues were up 24% to £1.6bn, which now accounts for 29% of all Pearson’s sales.
Chief executive Marjorie Scardino says the FT Group is “rapidly shifting” its business model towards digital and subscription revenues.
Scardino adds: “Advertising revenues remain unpredictable, but we see healthy demand for the FT’s premium content, especially in digital formats, and a recovery in business conditions for Mergermarket [its business intelligence tool].”
Pearson says the outlook for advertising remains poor and ad sales now account for 45% of the FT Group sales, compared with 67% five years ago.
Last month The Financial Times was the only daily newspaper to see circulation slip in January - by 1.81% to 383,067 month on month. The title is down 2.77% year on year.
Underlying sales at book publisher Penguin rose 6% to £1.05bn for the year, while profit increased 26% to £106m, bolstered by strong Christmas sales of titles from Michael McIntyre and Jamie Oliver.
· 83% of the public would not consider paying for online newspaper content. The Daily Mail is read online at least once a week by 8% of the public, with the Guardian and the Telegraph trailing with 7% and 6% respectively.
· 59% of the public agree that it is worth paying for a good newspaper.
· 39% agree that newspapers are too expensive now.
· 17% of the public believe that there is no point paying for a paper when you can get it for free. This statistic is the same across the ABC1 and the C2DE social grades.
· Of those willing to pay for online newspaper content, over half (52%) said that they expected to receive exclusive stories and/or interview not available anywhere else.
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