Future raises forecast after half year revenue surges to £404m

Future-brands logo 1

Future plc, the global platform for specialist media, reported a £131.72 million increase in revenue since HY 2021, through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions, including Dennis Publishing, WhatCulture.com, and Waive. 

The company added that, despite the abyssmal inflation reading for the UK today, it was also making a “modest upgrade’ to its revenue forecast for the full year, which was buoyed in part by the recent acquisition of fashion title WhoWhatWear!

Media revenue grew by 5% driven by digital advertising, while magazines grew by 3% with a higher proportion of revenue derived from subscriptions.

New focus on video boosts revenue

With an increased demand for video impressions alongside premium content, Future rolled out video across its ‘Buying Guides’ and ‘Deals’ pages in January 2022. 

Through providing video content across its eCommerce portfolio, Future tapped into high-intent audiences, with a ‘ready to buy’ mindset which drove more than £1 billion in eCommerce sales for the publisher in 2021. 

In addition, Future integrated Video Multiple Ad Playlists (VMAP), an IAB standard, into its capabilities, contributing to a 40% increase in video organic growth.

Digital advertising overall performed well in HY 2022 with favourable dynamics of endemic audiences, strong data, and video, driving 10% organic growth and a 5% increase in yield Year-on-Year (YoY).

Increased vertical diversification

Although technology and gaming remain at the heart of Future’s strategy, this year Future has made strides in the Women’s Lifestyle, Homes, and Wealth and Savings verticals.

While Future’s Homes titles continue to maintain their #1 position as UK leaders in the Homes sector, the company also made strong gains in the Women’s Lifestyle sector. 

Female audiences have been Future’s fastest growing demographic in the last four years, seeing a 175% growth. 

The publisher now reaches over 15.5 million women in the UK, through household names like Marie Claire and Woman&Home, and with the most recent announcement of the intention to acquire WhoWhatWear, this will aim to boost Future’s UK female audiences by a further 1.4 million.

To accelerate market leadership opportunities further, Future announced a double acquisition of WhatCulture.com and Waive in 2022 to strengthen its position in the Video and Gaming sector, and extend Future’s social trend analysis capabilities respectively.

Bolstering wealth expertise

A core part of Future’s strategy is to grow new audiences in the Wealth vertical, which is driving success across the entire Future portfolio. 

Benefitting from the expertise of acquired brands, such as The Week and MoneyWeek, subscriptions grew organically by 5% YoY, equating to £70.2m across the UK and US markets.

Future is also leveraging its knowledge in one part of the business to deliver audiences to another. For example, using SmartBrief’s newsletter technology to target ‘Look After My Bills’ customers with money saving content amid the ongoing energy crisis, funnelling traffic to Future’s organic site, The Money Edit.

Furthermore, access to rich first-party audience segments from the Aperture platform, supported by GoCompare’s consumer data, empowers Future to reach a vast Wealth and Finance readership across its entire portfolio with contextually relevant content. 

In the last 30 days, for example, Future saw 2.7 million people search for car insurance, representing a valuable audience of high-intent consumers accessible through the publisher’s quality content.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We are pleased to deliver a positive set of results for HY 2022.

“Through the continued execution of our diversification strategy, we have delivered robust year-on-year growth despite an inflationary environment and prior year comparators enhanced by the impact of COVID-19.

“The strength of our specialist, trusted content continues to attract a high value audience, making us a partner of choice for advertisers. 

“Our newest verticals, including Homes, Women’s Beauty & Fashion, and Wealth & Savings have performed well and generated strong brand awareness.

“In what has been a busy period, we were delighted to acquire and complete the integration of Dennis, and to acquire WhatCulture.com and Waive, which add incremental value. 

“We also look forward to bringing our latest acquisition, WhoWhatWear, into the Group, which enhances our leadership position in the Women’s vertical.”

The results did nothing to boost Future Plc’s shares today, which were more than 3% lower at £19.90, in part due to the shock inflation reading for the UK from the Office for National Statistics, also out today.