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Earnings: FT.com Subs Rise 12 Percent But Pearson H1 Profits Dented

More online and print subscriptions to the Financial Times website and print edition helped boost first-half operating profit 28 percent at Pearson’s FT newspaper group – but, thanks to poorer performing areas, the company posted an overall £104 million ($210 million) loss.

Subscribers to FT.com grew 12 percent to 97,000 on the same period last year. Newspaper circulation was up one percent at 450,000 but there was a 12 percent increase in print subscriptions. Ad revenue was up five percent, credited to “global reach and online presence”.

But what Pearson called the “discontinued operations” of the Government Solutions and Les Echos subsidiaries caused a £122 million ($246 million) loss within the group. The international governmental services division was sold to Veritas Capital in March while sale of the French newspaper is “under way”.
Release | Financials | Slides

Update: During a press conference, Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino shed a little light on the chatter earlier this summer about a possible Pearson-GE bid for Dow Jones. AP: Scardino said the company was ‘never interested’ in buying DJ: “If your biggest competitor goes on sale you will have a look at it … (but) We weren’t prepared to put money in. Our interest was in whether we could make a different kind of business model.”

IHT: Scardino said the company is “talking to all sorts of people about different distribution channels” about FT content. She posed the FT as a “niche” publication for global business leaders and politicians, compare to the WSJ’s “high-volume consumer audience.”