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Bath publishing giant Future continues growth in digital markets

Bath’s largest private sector employer is continuing to spread its tentacles around the globe as it stays ahead of the curve  in digital publishing.

Since Mark Wood took the hot seat at Future in October following the resignation of previous CEO Stevie Spring, the digital specialist has acclererated the company’s evolution from in-print magazine specialist to all-singing, all-dancing digital pioneer.

Future CEO Mark Wood

Mark Wood has accelerated Future's digital expansion since becoming CEO

Figures released this week show the company is striding boldly, rapidly and successfully into digital markets – and is becoming an increasingly global presence.

Interim results for the half-year to the end of March show Future’s digital revenues grew 37 per cent to £9.6 million. Future’s sales on the iPad have now passed £3 million following the launch of Apple’s Newsstand in October 2011. In the UK, digital growth offset a decline in print revenues.

The growth of the iPad and other tablet devices as a means of consuming media is central to Future’s strategy, and one figure that caught my eye is that 80 per cent of its iPad sales are outside the UK.

Future is fast becoming a business whose products are consumed all over the globe –  but Bath remains the beating heart of its operations.

“Bath is the biggest centre in Future and the centre of a lot of our innovation,”  chief executive Mark Wood told The Bath Chronicle. “We have first-class people and it’s the driving force of the business in most ways.”

Future’s operating profit before exceptional items was down five per cent to £1.8 million, with revenues down four per cent year-on-year to £59.1 million. The figures are based on the exclusion of revenues and costs relating to activities that Future has closed since October 2010.

The figures represent a significant improvement on results for the year to September, when Future lodged an adjusted pre-tax profit for the year of £5.1 million, down 39 per cent on 2010. The ship, it seems, has been steadied with Wood’s hand on the tiller.

For more of Mark Wood’s thoughts on Future’s Bath operations, and for news of a tie-up between the University of Bath’s computer science department and special effects firm Double Negative, see this week’s Bath Chronicle.

About Tom Bradshaw

Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and author. I tweet @tombradshaw1979

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