FT's digital readership rises 27% and ad growth returns

Pearson, owner of the Financial Times, has reported a strong first half for 2010, with and a return to advertising growth for its business newspaper.

Pearson: digital readership for the FT Group up 27%
Pearson: digital readership for the FT Group up 27%
FT Group, which houses the Financial Times, posted a 7% lift in underlying revenue to £192m, while adjusted operating profits more than doubled from £14m to £30m in the first six months of the year.

Digital readership for the FT Group was up 27% year on year in the first six months, to 149,000, and registered users of FT.com climbed 77% to 2.5 million. The company also reported almost 250,000 downloads of its iPad application.

In total, operating profits from the group’s core divisions – education, the FT Group and book publisher Penguin – increased to £178m, while underlying revenues increased by 7% year on year to £2.3bn.

Marjorie Scardino, chief executive, of Pearson, attributed the performance to investments in global and digital education and information.

Scardino added: "The 2010 finish line isn’t yet in sight, but this is as good a start to our year as I’ve seen. That boosts our confidence in the full year, enabling us to brighten our outlook and raise our guidance."

Despite the strong figures, the group cautioned that visibility for the remainder of the year "remains uncertain, and growth is still expected to slow in the second half on tougher comparables".