The Lawyer and New Media Age publisher Centaur’s income in the year to June 30 was about the same as the previous year, at £90.4 million, while pre-tax profit fell 14 percent to £14.5 million after £3.6 million was spent closing loss-making Perfect Analysis.
Blame the advertising climate, with ad sales down four percent overall in the second half and print down eight percent. A degree of growth in online ads helped overall ad sales up two percent over the year, but that’s hardly in line with the big online numbers we’ve seen from other publishers, especially over 12 months. Factoring in subscriptions, though, online income grew 22 percent, and now contributes 19 percent of sales. Still, that’s only two percent growth from last year.
TheLawyer.com reported “double-digit” sales growth thanks to legal recruitment classifieds – up from just five percent in the first half. And titles aimed at the online media business also saw “double-digit” growth – the marketing and creative division saw online sales grow by a third, mainly thanks to recruitment classifieds on MarketingWeek.co.uk and DesignWeek.co.uk
Chair Graham Sherren warned the outlook “remains challenging (and) uncertain”. It’s especially bitten Centaur’s legal and financial titles (a five percent decrease blamed on the mortgage market) while the marketing and creative division was also stagnant. Sherren expects print revenue to decline faster in the rest of the year, with steps planned to “improve cost effectiveness” in print.