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

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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

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