Future plc
Company typePublic limited company
Industrymagazine and internet publishing
Founded1985; 39 years ago (1985)
FounderChris Anderson
HeadquartersBath, Somerset, England
Key people
RevenueDecrease £788.9 million (2023)[1]
Decrease £174.5 million (2023)[1]
Decrease £113.4 million (2023)[1]
Number of employees
2,920 (2023)[1]
Subsidiaries
Websitefutureplc.com Edit this at Wikidata
Chris Anderson in 2007
Company office in Bath

Future plc is a British publishing company. It was started in 1985 by Chris Anderson. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Among its many titles are Country Life, Homes and Gardens, Decanter, Marie Claire, and The Week. Zillah Byng-Thorne was chief executive from 2014 to 2023, when she was replaced by Jon Steinberg.

History

1985–2012

The company was founded by Chris Anderson as Future Publishing in Somerton, Somerset, England, with the sole magazine Amstrad Action in 1985.[2] An early innovation was the inclusion of free software on magazine covers.[2] It acquired GP Publications so establishing Future US in 1994.[3]

Anderson sold the company to Pearson plc for £52.7m in 1994, but bought it back in 1998, for £142 million.[2] The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1999.[4] Anderson left the company in 2001.[5]

In 2004 the company was accused of corruption when it published positive reviews for the video game Driv3r in two of its owned magazines, Xbox World and PSM2.[6]

2012–2015

Future published the official magazines for the consoles of all three major games console manufacturers (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony); however PlayStation: The Official Magazine ceased publishing in November 2012, and Official Nintendo Magazine ceased publishing in October 2014.[7][8]

The chief executive and finance director both resigned at short notice after a profit warning in October 2011. It was noted that a re-structuring would be necessary as the company moved to a digital model.[9]

Future announced it would cut 55 jobs from its UK operation as part of a restructuring to adapt "more effectively to the company's rapid transition to a primarily digital business model."[10] The company announced in March 2014 that it would close all of its U.S.-based print publications and shift U.S. print support functions such as consumer marketing, production and editorial leadership for Future's international print brands to the UK.[11] Later in 2014, Future sold its sport and craft titles to Immediate Media, and its auto titles to Kelsey Media.[12]

In April 2014 Zillah Byng-Thorne, then finance director, was appointed chief executive, replacing Mark Wood, who had been in the position since 2011.[11]

2016–present

In 2018, Future made further major acquisitions. It bought the What Hi-Fi?, FourFourTwo, Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome brands from Haymarket and it acquired NewBay Media, publisher of numerous broadcast, professional video, and systems integration trade titles, as well as several consumer music magazines.[13] This acquisition returned most of the U.S. consumer music magazines to Future, with the exception of Revolver which had been sold to Project Group M LLC in 2017.[14]

It bought the Purch Group for $132m by September 2018,[15][16] and in February 2019 bought Mobile Nations including Android Central, iMore, Windows Central and Thrifter for $115 million.[17][18] Future also acquired ProCycling and CyclingNews.com from Immediate Media.[19] In July 2019 the company bought SmartBrief, a digital media publisher, for an initial sum of $45 million.[20]

In November 2019 the company bought Barcroft Studios for £23.5 million in a combination of cash and shares.[21] It renamed it Future Studios and announced the launch of "Future Originals", an anthology gaming series, a factual series focusing on the paranormal, and a new true crime show, in partnership with Marie Claire.[22]

In April 2020 it acquired TI Media, with 41 brands for £140 million,[23] and, in November 2020, it agreed a £594m takeover of GoCo plc, known for its Gocompare.com price comparison website.[24] In August 2021, it acquired another 12 magazines for £300 million.[25]

The company was criticised in February 2022 for the size of the remuneration package being offered to Zillah Byng-Thorne, the chief executive. It was noted that she could receive £40 million if the company performs well.[26]

Byng-Thorne resigned with effect from 3 April 2023 and was replaced as chief executive by Jon Steinberg.[27]

Organisation

In addition to media and magazines, the company has two other businesses:

Brands

Future's portfolio of brands included TechRadar, PC Gamer, Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, Marie Claire, GamesRadar+, All About Space, How it Works, CinemaBlend, Android Central, IT Pro and Windows Central.[30][31][32]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2023" (PDF). Future plc. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  2. ^ a b c Nicholas, Ruth (11 July 1999). "Profile: Chris Anderson: Media with passion". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 14 January 2013.
  3. ^ Cox, Howard; Mowatt, Simon (2014). Revolutions from Grub Street: A History of Magazine Publishing in Britain. Oxford University Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0199601639. Archived from the original on 16 August 2023. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Can new Future CEO end 15 years of boom & bust?". Flashes and Flames. 6 April 2014. Archived from the original on 15 March 2023. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  5. ^ Walters, Helen (18 February 2010). "TED's Not Dead, But It Is Aging: The annual conference tries to reach out to a new generation, awkwardly". Business Week. Archived from the original on 21 February 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  6. ^ Lui, Spandas (30 March 2010). "A history of gaming's biggest scandals". PC World. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  7. ^ Santos, Alexis (7 November 2012). "PlayStation: The Official Magazine being shuttered, will say farewell with holiday issue". Engadget (Joystiq). Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Another blow to print journalism: Future Publishing profits fall 61%". Gamer Limit. 28 November 2009. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  9. ^ "Future CEO and FD resign, names replacements". Reuters. 27 October 2011. Archived from the original on 23 March 2023. Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  10. ^ Mark Sweney (3 September 2013). "Future Publishing to cut 55 jobs". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  11. ^ a b Future US streamlined to focus on digital Archived 8 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, RNS Number : 3903D, Future PLC, 28 March 2014
  12. ^ Sweney, Mark (21 November 2014). "Future Publishing cuts more than 400 jobs as part of restructure". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  13. ^ Tom Butts (4 April 2018). "Future Publishing Acquires US Content Business NewBay Media". TV Technology. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  14. ^ Blabbermouth (1 May 2017). "REVOLVER Magazine Sold To Digital Media Company PROJECT M GROUP; Brand Relaunch Planned For This Fall". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Archived from the original on 1 November 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Purch sells B2C imprints to global specialist media publisher Future in $132m deal". The Drum. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Future buys Purch to boost US revenue". Digiday. 18 July 2018. Archived from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Future : Acquisition of Mobile Nations | MarketScreener". m.marketscreener.com. March 2019. Archived from the original on 15 March 2023. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Accelerates Mobile Nations earnout payment". otp.investis.com. Archived from the original on 11 July 2023. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Back to Future: Immediate sells CyclingNews and Procycling to Future plc, their previous owner". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Archived from the original on 21 March 2023. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Acquisition of SmartBrief". otp.investis.com. Archived from the original on 11 July 2023. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  21. ^ televisual.com. "Televisual Business Magazine For The Broadcast & Production Community". Televisual. Archived from the original on 22 March 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  22. ^ "True Crime Series 'On the Record with Marie Claire' at Future Studios". Variety. Archived from the original on 26 June 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  23. ^ "Proposed Acquisition of TI Media for £140 million". otp.investis.com. 30 October 2019. Archived from the original on 11 July 2023. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  24. ^ Sweney, Mark (25 November 2020). "Country Life publisher Future to buy GoCompare for £594m". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 3 June 2023. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  25. ^ "Country Life owner buys Dennis Publishing in £300m deal". The Guardian. 16 August 2021. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  26. ^ "Country Life publisher reeling after shareholder revolt over executive pay". The Guardian. 3 February 2022. Archived from the original on 3 June 2023. Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  27. ^ Spangler, Todd (22 February 2023). "Jon Steinberg, Former BuzzFeed and Cheddar Exec, Tapped as CEO of U.K. Publisher Future". Variety. Archived from the original on 21 March 2023. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  28. ^ televisual.com; Reporter, Staff (15 November 2019). "Barcroft Studios bought by Future plc for £23.5m". Televisual. Archived from the original on 22 March 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  29. ^ "Why Future is buying TI Media". Flashes & Flames. 1 November 2019. Archived from the original on 22 March 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  30. ^ "Future Celebrates Market Leading Position As Largest Tech News Publisher". GlobeNewswire (Press release). 23 September 2022. Archived from the original on 12 November 2022. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  31. ^ Partis, Danielle (15 September 2022). "Future makes editorial layoffs despite 'high' revenue projections". GamesIndustry. Archived from the original on 15 September 2022. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  32. ^ Staff (16 August 2021). "UK's Future Plc to buy 'The Week' publisher for $415 mln". Reuters. Archived from the original on 10 February 2023. Retrieved 10 February 2023.