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Future: Publishing giant ‘broadly’ meets expectations as growth strategy pays off

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Media company Future has said its overall performance has “broadly” met expectations in the four months ended January 2024 as it ramps up investment.

In a trading update on Wednesday, Future reported that revenues had improved on its fourth quarter of 2023, when they dropped to £789m, down four per cent from the prior year, sending shares down 20 per cent.

Future has previously guided to low single-digit revenue growth at the end of 2024.

The London-listed company, whose magazines include Marie Claire, Country Life and Four Four Two, did not provide any figures for its first quarter.

Future, which is on the FTSE 250, has kicked off its growth acceleration strategy, which it outlined in December 2023. It said it has seen “encouraging progress” from its Hero brands – including GoCompare and Tech Radar – which are surpassing the wider portfolio.

The strategy includes a two-year investment programme of £25m-£30m to “ensure Future is well-positioned to capitalise on future opportunities in its attractive and growing markets.”

In the most recent quarter, strong trading in price comparison and solid growth in B2B sectors have offset a “slower start” in affiliate products and digital advertising.

Future said this sluggishness is due to “low visibility” in the sector and ongoing macroeconomic pressures.

In addition, the company has faced headwinds from foreign exchange fluctuations, which impacted currency movements during the period.

Magazine sales, and especially subscriptions, have proved resilient even as online readership has declined.

Last year the British publisher’s US division underperformed as it suffered from a biting ad market. Profits were down nearly a fifth to £138m in its last quarter.

Shares in the media specialist have tanked over 55 per cent over the past year. Future is set to announce its half year results in May.

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