FT Ad Income ‘Deteriorated Significantly’ in March

28 April 2003

As at the weekend editions of the newly revamped Financial Times went on sale Saturday, it seemed as though the £3 million ($4.79m; €4.33m) relaunch may have come in the nick of time.

In a trading statement issued at its annual general meeting Friday, Pearson group revealed that ad revenues at its flagship FT Group “deteriorated significantly” during the last month, dragging down income for the year to date by 18%.

Nor does Pearson ceo Marjorie Scardino yet see any light at the end of the tunnel for the FT stable – which contributes seventeen per cent of all group revenues. When might the ad decline bottom-out? She admitted uncertainty, not least because of the lingering economic detritus of the US-British war on Iraq.

“The reconstruction period is part of the war. As long as we have occupation forces and an occupation government, that affects advertising,” Scardino said.” Some marketers feel it “almost immoral” to advertise at such times, she opined.

“If advertising continues at the levels we have seen in the year to date,” she continued, “FT Group profits would be lower than current market expectations, but still ahead of last year.”

The hitherto unassailable business newspaper posted a £7 million profit in the first half of 2002, only to dive to a deficit of £6m in H2. Its venerable tagline, ‘No FT. No Comment’ has been artfully amended to ‘New FT. New Comment’ to coincide with the relaunch.

Although the new-look FT first appeared Saturday, the more familiar Monday to Friday edition makes its worldwide debut today, Monday.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff