UBM: good numbers and strong words

There are good numbers and strong words from UMB this week.  The good numbers are in the annual results:

  • Revenue up 9.3%;
  • Margins up 20.8% from 19.3%;
  • More revenue from China than Europe;

The strong words are from David Levin, chief executive since 2005, in The Daily Telegraph speaking before the results were out.

Software eating businesses

Software has eaten the music industry and the newspaper industry.  Retail is next, says Levin.

The only way for media companies to survive is to build communities, he says.  Some 34.1% of operating profit comes from events now; 21.8% from PR Newswire; 16.2% from data services; 4.1% from online; and only 5.4% from print.

UBM had 140 business-to-business magazine titles in 2005 when Levin took the helm; it now has 95.  He is sorry he did not act faster to sell titles, he says.  But there were few buyers in the past few years.  Now there are some buyers and he has recently offloaded Farmers’ Guardian among others.

Online revenues from what UBM calls marketing, the titles it has, will be larger than print revenues in the current financial year, UBM predicts.

Paying out on acquisitions

An interesting detail in UBM’s results is that it has reviewed the goodwill carried in its books for the acquisitions it has made and does not need to downgrade the figure.  In non-financial words, the acquisitions it has made will earn what it expected when it bought them.  The same cannot be said for many other media companies.

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