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Future PLC ‘considering options’ for US division

September 29th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick, Magazines

Magazine publisher Future has said it is “considering a wider range of strategic options” for its US division in light of “challenging” conditions for the business.

In pre-close trading update the publisher said its position in the US “is significantly more challenging” than the UK. In July Future announced plans to “accelerate the transition of Future US into a primarily digital business”.

But this week, in a report preceding full-year earnings in November, the group said trading conditions in the US “reflecting ongoing weakness and decreasing visibility at newsstand” means the board is now considering a wider range of strategic options. PaidContent reports that the language used suggests the company “now may look to sell its business there”.

The publisher also confirmed that 10 per cent of its workforce has been cut in the UK and worldwide, which equals around 100 jobs, as part of its restructure to focus on digital and print efficiencies.

The company also claims in the latest report that the trends identified in its Interim Management Statement, published in July, have continued.

Revenues for the twelve months ending 30 September 2011 are expected to be down 6 per cent on last year, in constant currency.  The Board remains comfortable with market expectations of results for 2011, subject only to any period-end adjustment required in relation to US newsstand returns, beyond those already announced and incorporated into fourth quarter estimates.

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Guardian launches Kindle edition and outlines new mobile plans

July 11th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Mobile, Multimedia

The Guardian has launched its Kindle edition of the Guardian and Observer, which is said to carry content from the day’s newspaper and will be available to download seven days a week in the UK, US and more than 100 other countries.

In a post outlining the launch the Guardian says the edition is available to download from Amazon for a 14-day free trial, after which it will be priced at £9.99 a month in the UK, or £0.99 per issue.

The post also outlines two launches on the horizon for iPad and Android.

We’ve been working on iPad over the past few months and we’re currently testing it with some of our readers. Our objective has been to produce the most accessible, elegant interpretation of the Guardian newspaper for iPad and we hope we’re close to achieving that aim.

According to the Guardian, which recently announced a digital-first strategy, the new app will see the newspaper redesigned “exclusively in tablet form”.

The app will deliver a single daily edition of content, specifically curated for iPad. Like Kindle, it will be a subscription product, though we will be releasing it with a free trial period from launch.

The Guardian’s first Android app is due to launch in autumn and a new product for the HP TouchPad called Guardian Zeitgeist is also in the pipeline.

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Media release: RAJAR introducing new digital technology

June 6th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick

RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) today announced it is to introduce new digital technology to its audience measurement tools, including a new online radio listening diary and a digital personal interviewing aid.

According to a release this new digital collection of data is to be rolled out from July, “in response to the wider availability and everyday use of online”.

The move will enable RAJAR to offer improved demographic representation, with the complementary benefit of the online diary adding wider appeal to people who may be less responsive to the existing format. It will also enhance the capture of listening data across all platforms be it analogue, internet, DTV or DAB. The online survey will mirror the paper survey in content, allowing all data to be integrated for reporting.

See the full release here.

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Media release: ITN signs new video content deal with Independent

ITN announced today it has signed a deal with the Independent to provide video content for its website news player.

The deal with the Independent involves the delivery of bespoke content taken daily from across ITN’s UK, world, entertainment, and financial news feeds. In signing up to the service the Independent joins news title stable mates that include the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Star who all receive ITN’s award-winning content.

According to a release from ITN it already supplies content to daily freesheet Metro and several other regional titles from the Illife and MNA publishing groups.

In addition to the deal announced today, ITN Productions has also signed a new multi-year deal with the Daily Telegraph to supply video content for Telegraph.co.uk.

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Reuters: FT resisting Apple’s efforts to channel subs through App Store

April 4th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick

Reuters reports today that the Financial Times is “resisting Apple’s efforts” to channel subscribers through the App Store.

Last month Apple launched a new subscription service which ruled that publishers will still be allowed to sell app subscriptions through their own websites but will also have to offer subscriptions through Apple from within the app for the same price or less. This will then give Apple an opportunity to take away a 30 per cent cut of the subscription charge.

As part of the new service it is understood that customers purchasing a subscription through the App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with details such as their name and email address when they subscribe, while publishers can also seek additional information from App Store customers “provided those customers are given a clear choice”, a release said at the time.

But in an interview with Reuters, the FT said it wants to continue to sell subscriptions for its digital news directly, rather than “surrender control of new customers”.

Apple’s hit tablet computer, the iPad, has become a major driver of new subscriptions to FT.com, thanks to its large and crisp display, possibilities for interactive features and affluent customer base.

But the FT values direct relations with its customers which allow it to tailor advertising and products to its audience, and is resisting Apple’s efforts to channel them through the App Store.

News publishers across Europe have raised concerns with the new service, such as the loss of 30 per cent of the subscription revenue, which the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA) said would mean news publishers will not be able to invest in new technology, products and services.

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The Cutline: Guardian working on ‘significant US expansion’

Yahoo media blog the Cutline reports that the Guardian is busy building a new US digital operation which “will be significantly larger” than the Guardian’s previous work in the US.

Vague details around the plans were revealed in a Cutline interview with Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger.

He said the liberal English broadsheet is building a new US digital operation that will be based in New York rather than Washington, D.C. (The paper’s roughly 10 stateside reporters are currently based in both cities.) Pressed for additional details, Rusbridger demurred, but said the venture “will be significantly larger than anything we’ve done in the states before.” He was presumably referring to the Guardian’s previous attempts to crack the American news market, the most recent being GuardianAmerica.com, which had a short run between 2007 and 2009.

The Guardian began laying the groundwork for this expansion of its American shop last week with the addition of a New York-based chief revenue officer, whose job will be “to plot a fresh course in the US,” according to paidContent’s Robert Andrews.

A spokesperson for the Guardian had no further comment.

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Android app update allows users to purchase Kindle newspapers

On Friday Amazon announced that its Kindle for Android app is the first of its Kindle apps to receive an update that enables users to buy, read and sync more than 100 Kindle newspapers and magazines.

Kindle for Android users can now buy a single issue or subscribe to the most popular newspapers and magazines, have them automatically delivered to their Android-powered device, and enjoy a full color reading experience optimized for the touch interface of Android-powered devices.

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OJR: News publishers should look to the e-book model

September 13th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick, Online Journalism

As online publishers seek new ways of making money from digital news, Robert Niles suggests that news outlets could benefit from using the e-book rental model.

Writing on the Online Journalism Review website, Niles suggests they should capitalise on a model which he says has grown by 71 per cent in the last seven years in the US, especially when it comes to publishing in-depth journalism.

Every year, some top newspaper enterprise reporting projects end up as books. What if some newsrooms flipped the development cycle, and initiated some of their more extensive enterprise reporting projects as e-books, available for sale or for rent?

(…) That makes sense to me. Even as my consumption of news online has sated my appetite for the commodity news I can find in a printed newspaper, I still keep buying books and magazines for longer, more detailed narratives. I happily pay for that content in print because I can’t find an alternative that’s better or cheaper (or both) online.

See his full post here…

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BBC Dimensions: Making the news more geographically relevant

The BBC has launched ‘Dimensions’ – an interactive map prototype which aims to ignite a public interest in history and the news by making it geographically relevant to an individual.

The technology uses the address of a user to show the scale of an event in history, such as the recent oil spill in the Gulf, and applies it to a map of the user’s home and vicinity.

Discussing the technology, which currently “sits by itself”, BBC commissioning executive Max Gadney says the tools are being considered for use on BBC History and News pages.

When I took over the online History commissioning job, I knew that we would need a mix of traditional, trusted BBC content with some attention-grabbing digital stuff to get people to it.

It’s easier said than done. Many technologists and designers are not really interested in history. Like much of the audience they were turned off by dull lessons at school. Our challenge was to make it relevant to audiences.

See his full post here…

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Future: Digital ads going from strength-to-strength

July 30th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Magazines

Specialist magazine publisher Future has reported a resilient and ‘healthy balance sheet’ in the face of recession with a 15 per cent increase in online advertising revenue in the nine months to June 30.

The company released an interim management statement today, which suggested that although print advertising revenues were down 8 per cent, this was offset by the growth in online advertising – resulting in a total fall of only 4 per cent.

Online ads represented 22 per cent, nearly a quarter, of total advertising revenue – up 19 per cent year-on-year – over the same period.

In the company’s interim report, CEO Stevie Spring said: “While it is premature to talk about a market recovery, there has been no deterioration in trading conditions since the half year.”

A third of the group’s revenue comes from its US operation and it capitalised on a favourable US exchange rate against the sterling with a 24 per cent stronger US dollar in the reported period.

As a result, the publisher had come out relatively unscathed through what it called ‘exceptionally challenging market conditions’, with an overall revenue decline of just 2 per cent, or 9 per cent calculated on a constant currency basis.

Publishing revenues

In the UK, which generates the remaining two thirds of the company’s income, publishing revenue, based on constant currency, was down 6 per cent. The fall in revenue was mainly due to a decline in PC gaming, personal computing and automotive titles, the report suggested.

In the same period, publishing revenues for the US operation fell 13 per cent, on a constant currency basis. The publisher blamed ‘greater exposure to generic advertising market volatility’ in the territory, particularly with regard to its digital business.

Future’s future

Future produces more than 80 newsstand magazines, 62 websites and 25 annual live events on special-interest topics, such as computer games, film, music and sport.

Spring, who according to paidContent:UK, ‘never talks down the health of the magazine industry’, was bullish about the future of the publisher:

“I am confident that when recovery comes, Future is well-positioned to benefit. We’ve continued to invest in both new products and new people and, more broadly, our strategy remains firmly on track. We are in the best shape we can be in for the mid-term,” he said.

Future’s annual results for the year to end of September will be announced on November 26.

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