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Future Talks 'Tough Conditions' As U.S. Magazine Market Softens

Future Talks 'Tough Conditions' As U.S. Magazine Market Softens

January 27, 2009 | By David Jenkins

January 27, 2009 | By David Jenkins
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More: Console/PC

UK based media publisher Future, which publishes Nintendo Power and official Microsoft and Sony magazines in the U.S., as well as sites such as GamesRadar, is weathering difficult market conditions, with only a 1 percent rise in revenues over the last three months, according to a company statement.

Sales hit £41 million ($58 million) during the period, although the company admitted this was flattered by major currency exchange rate shifts.

There was a 2 percent fall in magazine circulation revenues and a 4 percent fall in print advertising, which was offset by a 25 percent increase in online advertising.

Web traffic across all of the company’s websites increased to more than 20 million unique users a month, up from 18 million unique users in September.

In its statement, Future describes "tough conditions" at newsstands and a softening of advertising budgets, particularly in the U.S. Subscriptions continue to hold steady, though, and now represent nearly half of all magazine sales by volume.

Future still expects full year results to be within market expectations, in part thanks to the strength of the U.S. dollar against the UK pound.

However, the company’s game publication portfolio was described as having a "challenging quarter", hit by what Future describes as "an accelerated decline in PC gaming and the very tough U.S. advertising environment."

Games account for 32 percent of the company’s business -- including Edge magazine and all three official UK platform-specific magazines -- but despite being the largest single portfolio, its other areas such as technology, music and movies have been more resilient recently.

"Our focus this year is on guiding our business effectively through the uncharted waters of the current macroeconomic environment and ensuring we remain on course to deliver sustainable growth in the mid-term," says Future CEO Stevie Spring.

"While of course we’re not immune to current challenges, we’re mitigating these through the active management of our portfolio and through building in greater cost flexibility," he adds.

"We remain confident that we’re in the best shape we can be to deal with whatever challenges lie ahead and are on track to deliver against expectations for the full year."

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