Digital, Subscription Revenues Ever More Important for FT Group
'Traditional' publishing business accounting for less as digital overtakes it.
Since 2007, the Financial Times Group has grown its digital business from a quarter of overall revenues to almost half, says Pearson in its 2011 financials. While traditional lines of business are flat or down, the group is placing a premium on digital and subscription revenues.
Advertising, says Pearson, has been "weak and volatile with poor visibility." Growth in online ads and the luxury category offset by a decline in corporate advertising.
On a more macro level, Pearson expects corporate digital revenues to overtake traditional publishing revenues this year.
Meanwhile, digital accounted for 47 percent of revenues for the FT Group in 2011, content revenues were 58 percent and advertising pulled up the rear at 42 percent. In 2007, advertising accounted for 59 percent of revenues.
Overall, revenues were up 6 percent in 2011 to $677 million, with operating profits up 27 percent to $120 million for the Group.
With advertising on the decline, subscriptions continued to be a bright spot, particularly in digital. Online subs grew 29 percent to 267,000 and registered users were up 33 percent to more than 4 million.
Digital subscriptions are now 44 percent of the FT's total paid circ. Combined, print and digital circulation reached 600,000, which Pearson says is its highest in FT's history. And in the U.S., digital subscribers passed print by the end of the year.
The FT's mobile efforts continue to pay off as the platform now accounts for 19 percent of traffic to FT.com. Pearson acquired Assanka, the FT's Web-app development provider, earlier this year.
Pearson noted its continued focus on events, the FT Group now operates 75 of them in 37 countries, as well as the Group's Non-Executive Certificate program, which has enrolled 100 students so far. The FT has been expanding its premium subscription services into Brazil with the launch of its Brazil Confidential.