The Week Kick-off: Future rockets, Axel-Facebook, & Amazon looks to deliver James Bond

Following last week’s news that the UK magazine media industry is now worth £, it also looks like a glittering Future ahead, with the publisher announcing an 89% increase in half year revenues. Additionally, we’ll look at the new Axel Springer-Facebook deal, new horizons for Shutterstock and Amazon, and the serious editorial-side issues facing the BBC. Monday… Kicked-off!   

Future plc half year revenues up 89% to £273m

Released last week, the company’s latest set of Interim Results cover the half year up to and including March 2021, and report an 89% year on year increase in revenues to reach £273m for the period. Adjusted operating profit was up 124%, while the company also grew its global audience by 31%, to reach 311 million monthly online users.

The results come just a week after Future’s announcement that it has now added Marie Claire US to its portfolio, while the interim news has also propelled the company to a £3bn valuation as tweeted by Managing Director of Audience, Sam Robson.

Axel Springer partners with Facebook 

Europe’s largest digital publishing house, Axel Springer, and social media network Facebook, have signed a letter of intent on joint global cooperation. As a result, content produced by the publisher will be distributed via various Facebook offerings, including ‘Facebook News’. As part of the deal, the media brands involved will also ramp up the sharing of video content on the network. The agreement explicitly excludes the future ancillary copyright for press publishers.

The announcement comes as FIPP itself launches a new report titled ‘Big Tech and You’, which provides an in-depth look at the ongoing an at times still uneasy relationship between tech platforms and traditional media owners. “The truth is that, for most publishers, Google and Facebook are probably the two businesses that can have the largest impact on their revenue,” says FIPP CEO, James Hewes in introducing the report. “Their control of search, sharing and digital advertising is unparalleled, and our industry has adopted a wide range of strategies in facing up to the challenge of dealing with technology companies that are as big as any that has ever existed.” 

Shutterstock launches The Newsroom

Global creative platform Shutterstock Inc. has announced the launch of The Newsroom, a new resource for global breaking news, exclusives, archived and UGC content. Packaging trending stories into accessible bundles for news reporting, the Newsroom team will also provide first-to-market exclusives.

“The Newsroom leverages the expertise of world class editorial professionals to deliver breaking and trending news via photo, video and packaged collections directly to the inboxes of today’s leading media and broadcasting networks globally,” said Jamie Elden, Chief Revenue Officer at Shutterstock. FIPP Journalist, Sadie Hale, has the full story here.

Amazon looks to deliver James Bond

From launching newsrooms to more streaming booms, as a number of outlets including The Guardian report that Amazon is in talks to buy Hollywood studio MGM for US$9bn. Both Netflix and Apple have already been reported to be in the hunt for the maker of the James Bond movies, which doesn’t actually own the rights to the franchise outright, as the streaming wars between the industry’s biggest players heat up. 

Meanwhile, AT&T has announced a deal between WarnerMedia (owner of brands such as HBO, Warner Bros., and CNN) and Discovery Inc., which it says will create ‘a stronger competitor in global streaming’. The newly created company will, according to AT&T CEO John Stankey, “be one of the leading global direct-to-consumer streaming platforms.”

Historic issues resurface for the BBC 

Those living outside the UK may not be aware of the full extent of the media storm that has surrounded the BBC in recent days. Martin Bashir, who recently left the BBC due to health reasons following a second stint as a journalist at the organisation, was found by an independent inquiry to have used false documents to secure an interview with Princess Diana in 1995, two years before her death. Since the publication of the report last week, all manner of media and political voices have been dragged into the commentary, including Bashir himself, Prince William, Earl Spencer, and former BBC Director General, Tony Hall. 

The crux of the matter now falls down to the fact that in addition to the ‘deceitful behaviour’ demonstrated by Martin Bashir directly, the Lord Dyson report also found evidence of a wider cover-up within the organisation. Doing the Sunday morning politics show rounds yesterday and as reported by The Guardian, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Next year is an opportunity when it comes to the midterm review of the BBC charter for government and the BBC to absolutely look at new ways of governance of the institution, the organisation,” and did not rule out the idea of an external editorial board. 

As for FIPP…

Somewhat less controversially, we’ll be at the FIPP studio in the UK’s Henley-on-Thames this week preparing for our newest event – the D2C Summit – which is now just one month away. The brand new event, being hosted in partnership with Peninsula Strategies’ Robbie Baxter will feature 40+ speakers from companies such as Dennis, Axel Springer, Meredith, The Wall Street Journal, Hearst and more, and you can find out further details here.


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