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Nintendo Power Publisher Future Considering Magazine Closures

Nintendo Power Publisher Future Considering Magazine Closures

September 28, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

United Kingdom lifestyle website and magazine publisher Future plc has long publicized its challenge in maintaining operations in the United States, but if recent statements are an indicator, the company may announce a major move soon.

In a note to investors ahead of the close of its fiscal year on September 30, company representatives said that a challenging quarter means that the company will not only accelerate its plans to transition Future U.S. to a primarily digital model, it is also now considering more drastic measures.

"With trading conditions in the U.S. reflecting ongoing weakness and decreasing visibility at newsstand, and an acceleration in the year-on-year growth rate in digital revenues, the Board is now considering a wider range of strategic options in respect of its U.S. operations," the note said, possibly referencing a split or sale of the division.

In the United States, Future publishes the three official console magazines -- PlayStation: The Official Magazine, Official Xbox Magazine and Nintendo Power -- along with PC Gamer, retailer Best Buy-partnered @Gamer, and websites that include GamesRadar. Its British parent is best-known as the publisher of that region's Edge.

Plans to accelerate the U.S. division to digital were announced in July, though the company says that during the last quarter, the position has become "more challenging, reflecting a combination of a much smaller scale of business; the radically different business model applicable to US magazine publishing generally compared with the UK; limited portfolio protection with exposure to only three special-interest sectors; and a faster-declining print advertising market."

Future plc will announce its preliminary results for the fiscal year on November 24, and promises a "further update and blueprint for 2012 and beyond" for its U.S. division at that time. The company expects a six percent drop in revenues.

Of note, the company says an earlier restructuring of its UK division to "ensure even faster growth in digital and more efficient execution of print" resulted in a 10 percent staff cut.

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