Future plans 170 UK job cuts as it sells bikes and craft magazines

Future has posted a loss for the first half of 2014, and has says it plans to reduce its headcount by 170 in the UK.

It follows the news that it has sold its sport and craft titles – including its cycling magazines – to Immediate Media in a 24m.

The firm’s UK revenues were actually up over the first half of 2013 by two per cent to 41.5m, which represents 85 per cent of the entire Group’s revenue. But US revenue fell 14 per cent to 7.3m.

The company’s entertainment department – which includes games and film – generated 7.2m, a drop from the 8.5m it made last year. However, it’s important to point out that there were more game launches in the first half of 2013 compared with 2014.

That means – along with exceptional items and finance costs – the business reported a 30.6m pre-tax loss, compared with 0.3m pre-tax loss.

As revealed by MCV, Future is also proposing to close CVG, Edge Online and the websites for Official PlayStation, Official Xbox and Official Nintendo. It’s also planning to move all games titles to its Bath office.

"Clearly, Future’s print revenues have continued to decline, but our consumers are highly-engaged and new revenue streams are available," said Zillah Byng-Maddick, CEO of Future.

"Our revised business model is based on the virtuous circle of engagement in two core content areas: reviews (when consumers are looking to make product purchase decisions and where we can derive ecommerce revenues) and ‘how to’ opportunities (when consumers want to learn more and are prepared to pay us to help them do so, through tutorials, events etc). These were the foundations of Future’s initial success in the 1980s, and they will remain at the core of our strategic focus through the next phase of transformation.

"The streamlining of our consumer strategy – with an increased focus on the consumer technology market and a clear channel-neutral approach – allows for a simplification and standardisation of our digital advertising platforms and opportunities. Where appropriate we will also look to rationalise brand activity online in areas where consumers are less interested in our brands but discover and value our content that reaches them through the strength of our search engine optimisation.

"The transformation programme has already begun, with the disposal of our Sport and Craft titles. In addition a consultation process began in mid-May, involving all staff, a reflection of the extent to which all areas of the business are affected by the evolving working practices.The proposals reflect a functional approach to re-organising the business: with all our content and marketing staff grouped under one director, focused on creating industry-leading content that connects with our consumers. Likewise, we are grouping all commercial and consumer revenue activity under respective directors. I propose to transform our current IT division into a focused digital Product and Technology division, creating standardised platforms for all our digital offerings. I have also re-organised and strengthened my leadership team to reflect this new functional approach."

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