Future on standby for gaming boost

Future on standby for gaming boost

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Publisher future said it expects the gaming sector to drive growth

Gamers keen to get the lowdown on the latest developments in the console market should help reverse an annual decline in magazine sales, publisher Future said.

The group, which prints official titles for Microsoft and Nintendo, said 3D games and improvements to consoles, such as the new motion-sensitive Kinect device for the Xbox 360, will increase its reach.

The Bath and London-based company – publisher of Total Film, Cycling Plus and Classic Rock magazines – said gaming now accounted for 21% of its UK revenues and helped lift full-year sales in its digital arm, which focuses on websites and interactive downloads.

Future reported a 9% increase in adjusted pre-tax profits to £8.3 million in the year to September 30, despite a 1% decline in revenues to £151.5 million.

In the UK, Future said revenues declined 3% in the first six months but this turned around in the second half, leading to an overall decline in the UK of 1%.

Future’s full-year performance marks a welcome turnaround after a terrible previous year, when the group was hit by a deep advertising slump and industry wide news-stand disruption in the US, where it has now seen a return to profit.

Stevie Spring, Future’s chief executive, said: “After an exceptionally tough 2009, we’ve delivered a set of results in 2010 that demonstrates we’re back on track.”

Ms Spring said gaming remains one of the world’s most popular leisure pursuits.

The company is also pushing new products such as FirstPlay, a weekly interactive show, which is downloaded direct to the PlayStation 3, and magazines such as Comic Heroes and Tap!, a magazine about Apple products.

Ms Spring said advertising revenues grew by 4% for the year in the UK, which was “encouraging in a media sector that continues to experience very significant advertising and news-stand challenges”.

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