Representatives from British magazine and website publisher Future plc, which dominates the UK video game magazine market, including official Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft magazines, and also owns U.S. print properties such as Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer, and PSM and websites Next-Gen and GamesRadar through its Future Network subsidiary, have issued a disappointing trading update regarding the company’s full year profits, which has seen shares fall to a three-year low on the London Stock Exchange.
The statement suggested that pre-tax profits for the year ended September 2006 will be down by as much as £4 to £5 million ($6.9 to $8.6m), with operating profits for the first half of the year, ended March 31st 2006, expected to be less than half the level reported at the same time in 2005. As a result of the update, shares in the company fell by 20 percent to £0.39 ($0.67) in early trading, rising slightly to £0.42 ($0.72) by the afternoon.
Future identified the primary area of underperformance as news-stand magazines, in particular performance cars titles, certain women's interest magazines and to a lesser extent some games titles. Future has been criticized by some analysts before for its relative slowness to move into online publishing, especially in the U.S., although the recent re-launch of GamesRadar.com as a worldwide game-centric website has been seen as a step away from a reliance on the company's newsstand business.
In the light of current trading, the company is claiming that a number of costs have been reduced and that costs across the business remain under tight control, although these moves are not thought to involve major job cuts at this time.