Contra to the recent trend set by Emap and United News & Media, publishing group Pearson yesterday announced increased spend on its internet arms in the second half of 2000.

Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times and owner of Penguin Books, raised its expenditure on web activities from £84 million in the first half of the year to £100m in the second. Unique monthly users of have also risen sharply, from 1.1m in July to 1.7m in November.

Chief executive Marjorie Scardino asserted that increased investment would strengthen long-term growth. She forecast “a faster path to profitability for these businesses, with the net cost of developing them expected to fall significantly in 2001 after peaking in the second half of this year”.

However, the stock market seemed less confident: Pearson’s shares dropped 60p to £16.22.

News source: The Times (London)