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Publishers Report Mixed First Half Results

Profits up at UBM, down at MSLO, McGraw-Hill.

By Jason Fell

Three major magazine publishers—Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, McGraw-Hill and United Business Media—today released their second quarter and first half financial reports. The results were mixed but also showed some encouraging performance.

MSLO reported $144.9 million in revenue for the first half 2008, up slightly from $140.5 million during the same period in 2007. The company posted an operating loss of $2.8 million compared to a $20.3 million loss last year. Revenues in the publishing division were about $87 million, down from about $88 million in 2007.

Second quarter revenues at MSLO were $77.1 million, up about 5 percent over $73.4 during the same period last year. Operating income for the quarter was $1.7 million, compared to a loss of $7.8 million over the same period last year. Revenue for the publishing division was $46.2 million, down only about 3 percent because, in part, of increased advertising revenue, the company said.

BusinessWeek parent McGraw-Hill reported $2.89 billion in revenue over the first half of 2008, down 4.1 percent from the same period in 2007. Net income for the first half was $293.4 million, down 30.3 percent from $420.9 million last year. Revenue in its information and media division, however, was up 5.1 percent to $510.3 million.

For the second quarter, McGraw-Hill’s revenue declined by 2.6 percent to $1.7 billion. Net income for the second quarter decreased 23.4 percent to $212.3 million, compared to the same period last year. Information and media division revenue was reported at $266.9 million, up 6.8 percent from $235.1 million last year. Revenue from the b-to-b subdivision, which includes BusinessWeek and Aviation Week, jumped 7.8 percent to $240.4 million.

BusinessWeek’s ad revenues for the first half 2008 were $116.7 million, down 11.3 percent from the same period in 2007, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

London-based United Business Media, which broke CMP Technology into four separate businesses earlier this year, saw its first half revenue ($886.8 million) increase 10.4 percent from about $803 million in 2007. Group operating profit for the half was about $150 million, jumping 24.8 percent over about $120.2 million over the same period last year.

UBM's profit spike was due mostly to tradeshows and exhibitions, business intelligence products and services, and news distribution activities, the company said.

By Jason Fell

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