Future Plc doubles profits and raises guidance for next year

Future brands

Specialist media group, Future plc, has reported a doubling of profits to £107.8m and raised its guidance for the year ahead.

An impressive 79% total revenue growth includes 23% organic revenue growth, with media specifically seeing organic revenue growth of 27%. 

The company, which owns household brands such as Marie Claire, TechRadar and GoCompare, said its global online audience increased by 8% Year-on-Year (YoY), now reaching half of all online adults in the UK (47%), an audience four times larger than it was in 2018, and one in three in the US (31%). 

Future Plc results

E-commerce revenue was up 36% organically and digital ads were up 27% on an organic basis driven by improved yield.

Future’s growth strategy is underpinned by three pillars, which include driving organic growth, creating value through acquisitions, and using investment in technology to deliver ‘the platform effect’.

Vertical focus driving longer term organic growth 

Future’s vertical strategy historically delivers 10-15% revenue and audience growth, powered by evergreen content. 

The strategy prioritises key categories, such as Cycling, Homes, Women’s Lifestyle and the newly formed Wealth vertical, all of which deliver specialist audiences who engage with content for buying advice, as well as endemic content and products. 

This tactic has seen Future gain the top spot in both the UK and US, according to Comscore, in core verticals such as Cycling, which now has 12.4m online users – a 31% YoY growth.

Similarly, in Comscore’s latest rankings Future’s Homes vertical continues to be the industry leader in the UK with its audience having increased 22% YoY to 7.7m online users. 

In the US, reach increased 28 positions in the last two years to 14th, proving the value of applying Future’s strategy across regions.

Acquisitions add value  

Completed in October 2021, the acquisition of Dennis has accelerated Future’s entry into a new Wealth vertical, bringing scale through MoneyWeek in the UK and Kiplinger in the US, which dramatically extends the business’ US reach with ~10m users and a heritage of delivering high-quality content in the region.

Overall, media revenue grew 78% YoY, which was made up of a combination of strong organic growth (27%) alongside contributions from acquisitions, which included GoCo Group, Marie Claire US and Mozo, alongside Dennis.

The latest results also reveal the success of Future’s acquisition of TI Media, completed in April 2020. 

Since the acquisition these titles, which include Woman&Home, CountryLife and Decanter, have seen a 16% online user growth, an increase Future will look to replicate with its new titles from Dennis.

Innovative strategies deliver strong outcomes

Launched in September, Future’s first party data platform, Aperture, has increased its addressable audience by 354%. 

The platform allows advertisers to reach high-intent audiences through access to rich first-party audience data captured across Future’s vast portfolio of brands, providing a scalable, cookieless, targeting solution. 

By owning a full proprietary technology stack that is scalable across its entire portfolio, Future is able to serve its high intent audiences through their entire purchase journey, in a premium, trusted editorial environment.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future’s Chief Executive Officer said: “I am pleased to announce another set of strong results, which builds on our long-term track record of growth. 

“Our performance reflects the diversity of our revenue streams and our global reach.

“We generated 23% organic growth in the period, driven by the strength of our trusted content which continues to attract a high value audience. 

“Our strategy is accelerated through acquisition and in the year we continued to strengthen our proposition through the well-advanced integration of GoCo Group, as well as the acquisition of Mozo, Marie Claire US, CinemaBlend and, post-year end, Dennis.

“Looking ahead, we expect our diversified strategy to continue to deliver and are well-positioned to continue to grow strongly.

“As we transition from the COVID-19 boosted comparators, we expect the growth to accelerate in H2 next year. 

“We expect our operating model to drive enhanced scalability and operating leverage, leading to further margin expansion, and we are therefore upgrading our outlook for the full year and now expect adjusted results in FY 2022 to be materially above current expectations.”

Future’s shares surged more than 15% to £36.96 per share on the London Stock Exchange following the results.