Like any other public relations agency we spend hours observing the ever-changing face of the media world. Because in the current climate you need to keep a constant eye on the prize if there’s any hope of taking away even a fraction of the spoils.
Just last week we mused from Mount Street on the prospects of digital publishing, what with the unbelievably appealing iPad 2 now available to own and love, Kindle’s ongoing success, and the burgeoning tablet market overall opening the floodgates for magazines and newspapers to start selling copies on the new formats. Now, quick as a flash, there’s more proof that a few specks of light are piercing the dark tunnel of print, if the recent figures from Future Publishing are anything to go by.
OK, so first and foremost it’s bad news, with a 45 per cent fall in pre-tax profits. However, look a little deeper and you see that in the UK the consumer giant, responsible for the likes of Total Film, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Edge, PSM3, and Mountain Biking UK, has actually seen a two per cent increase in advertising, with the sale of digital space growing by 44 per cent, year on year.
Now this isn’t to say there hasn’t been a painful drop in income of all types for the print side of the business, but the news can also be seen as further evidence that there is a great deal of potential for words and pictures to survive on paper, if they are mainly read on a screen. In short, those running the engine rooms must look to transfer the weight of responsibility from the old business model, to the most obvious one to have emerged from the 21st Century so far.
Of course the old faithful may spit on the concept that digital should be the foremost interest of a once traditional publishing house. But look at the numbers here- Future currently offers 60 titles on the iPad, a platform still in its infancy, and brings in £100,000 per month from sales. That’s quite low, but these are early days and so the figure can’t be sniffed at, particularly in a world where media news usually comes in the form of a balance sheet awash in red ink. And the same theory can be applied to a host of industries- if there’s a chance of competing tomorrow then the very best of what we have today has to be embraced, whether that’s via mobile media campaigns, faithful online communities, or electronic glossies.