iPad
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Magazine publisher Future, with niche titles in areas such as technology, games and cycling, is focusing on a digital future, chief executive Mark Wood said at a conference today.

"Our aim to become a predominantly digital business at great speed,” Wood told delegates at Digital Media Strategies, which is taking place in London.

Future is focusing on both digital publishing in terms of tablets and online. Wood shared key statistics, saying Future has now sold more than 3 million digital magazines via Apple's Newsstand, and has an online audience of 50 million.

Wood said Future has large audiences in key niche areas. He said it has 25 million unique users who read its technology titles, 12 millions in the games niche, and that there are 5.5 million people who come to Future titles for cycling news.

Tablet publishing

Wood described the process of selling magazines for tablets as "paywall 2.0". Future was on Newsstand from launch in October 2011 and has found great success by focusing on magazines for the iPad. It has also developed titles for Google Play, Kindle Fire, and Wood predicted significant opportunities as Microsoft further develops Surface.

He shared key statistics:

  • Future has sold more than 3 million magazine copies via Newsstand
  • 80 per cent of the audience is outside UK
  • 65 per cent of sales are paid subscriptions
  • 60 per cent subscriptions are renewed
  • There have been 19 million container downloads
  • 14 million issues have been served
  • 1.8 million transactions have been made for digital products
  • There are now 180,000 "full subscribers" to Future magazines
  • There are 460,000 people regularly buying digital magazines
  • Around 6.4 million people have signed up to receive push notifications on mobile devices - which are people Future can market to.
  • There are now 60 non-Future titles which use FutureFolio, the magazine publishing platform Future has developed and which it markets to other publishers.

Paid content is working for Future. "It’s given us a new energy and new focus," Wood said.

And part of that focus is to launch new titles. Wood explained that Future did not have any weekly titles until last year – and it now has four.

Future has also launched a new type of product: an iPad magazine which updates with live football results by taking a feed from the Press Association.

Online focus

Online is another important focus for Future. One of the key focuses is on search engine optimisation, Wood explained, and used the example of the importance of TechRadar appearing top of search results for news on key technology launches.

Future is also "rapidly developing video", producing online video "in great quantities".

He said the lessons learnt from producing and publishing video is that it must be edited, high quality, interesting and engaging.

Some of Future's most watched videos are "unboxing videos”, edited films which show the unboxing of new products such as a new iPhone as it is launched.

Future has also built a strong social media presence. It uses social to promote the digital products and also to provide "key feedback loops" gathering reactions to new innovations from readers.

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