Pearson Digital: FT Passes 180,000 Digital Subs; Penguin Offsets Print Drop

Digital subscriptions are up more than 50 percent for the Financial Times so far this year, passing the 180,000 mark. The numbers are included in today’s nine-month interim report from Pearson (NYSE: PSO), which is threaded throughout with bits of digital news.

In fact, the focus on Pearson’s Penguin segment was nearly all digital. The unit eked out a 5 percent sales increase thanks to the offset by “strong publishing and rapid growth in eBook sales (which have increased threefold).” It’s offering some 16,500 e-book titles. On the anecdotal side, Penguin claims a publishing first with Stephen Fry’s The Fry Chronicles turning up on as a bestseller in five formats — hardback, e-book, enhanced e-book, app and audio. (Seriously, enhanced e-book is a whole category now? Can’t be too hard to top it.)

The FT Group turned in a sales increase of 11 percent; Pearson says its boost came from stronger print and digital, which is a twist these days. It also claims ad growth and an uptick at Mergermarket as M&A picks up.

Overall, Pearson’s sales were up 7 percent with an adjusted operating profit of 15 percent through Sept. 30. The company raised its full-year guidance but called some of its markets “subdued” and the broader economic outlook “uncertain.” More details in the release