British magazine publisher Future has wholeheartedly embraced Apple’s iOS Newsstand as a distribution channel for its digital mags, and the strategy is paying off. The company published its latest financial results today, including the news that “Gross revenues from digital edition sales now running at $1m per month”.
This should be kept in perspective: Future’s revenues for the financial year ended 30 September were £123.5m (around $196.8m), meaning that the digital magazines are only accounting for a relatively small portion of the company’s overall turnover. That $1m figure is gross revenues too, before Apple’s 30% cut.
What’s more, those total revenues were down 13% year-on-year (or down 3% according to Future’s “normalised” figures that “exclude revenues and costs relating to activities closed or divested between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2012, but include any new activities launched in that period”).
In other words, Future’s tablet business is growing well, but it’s not yet making up for falling revenues elsewhere in the business. Still, the company is bullish on the potential.
“We are particularly pleased that the Group has established a powerful position at the centre of the tablet revolution,” says chairman Peter Allen in a statement. “As technology giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon contend for market leadership, they will undoubtedly fuel demand for the tablet-friendly content in which Future excels.”
There are some more stats in the financials: Future has more than 100 digital editions of its magazines, and has sold 2m “products” in the last 12 months through the Newsstand store on iPad.
“We have generated gross sales of over £6m on Apple’s Newsstand since its launch in October 2011. Our current global sales on all tablet devices are running at $1m (gross) a month,” explained CEO Mark Wood.
“Future’s T3 is the top-selling tablet title in the UK, selling around 30,000 copies a month, while MacLife is the top technology title in the US with sales of around 65,000 a month. Around 90% of our digital edition sales are to new customers and 40% are outside our core UK and US markets, pointing to further global opportunities. More than 60% of new customers sign up for subscriptions and the renewal rate is running at over 60%, creating a high-quality long-term revenue stream.”
The publisher is hoping to generate more than half its revenues from digital within three to four years, although that includes websites as well as apps and digital issues.