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Edited Transcript of FUTR.L earnings conference call or presentation 15-Nov-19 9:30am GMT

Full Year 2019 Future PLC Earnings Presentation - London

London Dec 3, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Future PLC earnings conference call or presentation Friday, November 15, 2019 at 9:30:00am GMT

TEXT version of Transcript


Corporate Participants


* Penny Ladkin-Brand

Future plc - CFO, Company Secretary & Executive Director

* Zillah Byng-Thorne

Future plc - CEO & Executive Director




Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future plc - CEO & Executive Director [1]


First of all, thanks very much again for coming along today. We managed to bring our results forward a week. So we appreciate you making the time to come here early. We thought doing our results on Black Friday was a little bit stressful, so we just thought we would ease that out again. So we're going to take you briefly through the highlights of the business. But I think the key point we're going into is, as far as we are concerned, our strategy is working, and we're really pleased to see the continued performance across all of our key metrics.

So in terms of our executive summary, I think it's very much about the balance of strategy and execution. And those of you who've known me for a while will know I talk about that a lot, but I can't emphasize that enough. You've got to have the right strategy to execute on and then you got be disciplined around execution of that. There's a lot on this slide, and we're going to go through most of it in more detail over the course of the presentation. But just to pick out a few highlights. Group revenue up 70% to just a nudge over GBP 221 million. I think for me, personally, what's particularly pleasing is the organic revenue of 11% across the entire group and the underlying ongoing Media growth, which at north of 30% growth is super pleasing from an organic basis.

Those of you who know our business well and know Penny and I, will know that actually what we really -- are really pleased about is the EBITDA conversion, which is more than double the growth of the revenue, really demonstrating how the platform works well for us and fuels that to get us to the GBP 54.5 million. Anyway, I am not going to steal any more of Penny's lines because she gets to talk about the numbers, and so I should kind of veer away from my comfort zone and talk instead a little bit about -- more about the strategy.

I am, as always, good at recycling content. That includes our own content. So this slide, you've all seen many, many times before, but I can't stress enough how I think it's to come back or is to just reorientate around what our strategy is and how we plan to execute against it. So the key pillars within our strategy is around building a global platform, and it's interesting because a few people said, "Oh, we're really surprised your recent transactions have been in the U.K." But actually, that's brilliant because we've got a global platform, which we can take those products and content and develop that through the U.S. opportunities into the platform we have. So that's exactly the sort of things we're looking to do by having that global platform.

The next thing is around specialist media. We really do think that media, the specialist, is a unique advantage. And it's interesting the article today in the FT about Google plays exactly to our strategy around the value of specialist advertising and the value of specialist content and being a destination for advertisers rather than just a database for advertisers, and that's very much why we focus on that.

We fundamentally believe technology is a USP and it allows our business to scale, and I think that's what drives a lot of the results and the performance. And we continue to invest in what next for technology and, again, that comes on some of the recent acquisitions.

Scalable market-leading brands is key for us as well, so we want to make sure we have #1 positions, but we continue to scale those brands. And then a place where communities can come to meet, and we've been investing in that during the course of the year. We'll talk about that in a bit more detail.

But overall, at the heart of all of that is the content and the business, and that very much sits at the core of what we do and underpins our success. But I'm not going to talk anymore.

I'll let Penny take you through the numbers.


Penny Ladkin-Brand, Future plc - CFO, Company Secretary & Executive Director [2]


Thank you. So good morning. I'm just going to start with our KPIs. And those of you who've been watching us and the story for a while, you'll note that we've moved to adjusted operating profit rather than EBITDA from now on in reflection of the accounting deciding that rent is no longer a cost or an operating cost, so we're moving to operating profit. And you can see just touching on Zillah's point who did steal my line, that we are particularly pleased around the growth in operating profit and the conversion to cash. So a 10 percentage point increase in margin to 24% operating profit margin and really good strong cash flows. So adjusted free cash flow, which is after CapEx, of GBP 53.7 million.

So just looking at those numbers in a bit more detail. We've seen revenue growth of 70%, up to GBP 220 million, but much more pleasing is in the benefit of the operating leverage coming through. You can see that flowing through to EBITDA of GBP 54.5 million, up 163% year-on-year and adjusted operating profit up 182% year-on-year.

EPS reflects the dilution effect of -- as we've raised funds to make the acquisitions. So EPS at 47.5p is up 95%. So again, really pleasing that that's a higher percentage than the revenue growth. So we can see the operating leverage really is coming through.

And then net debt, we finished the year with leverage at just over 0.74, so a decrease on last year.

So moving on to revenue. We can see that Media is now -- before the acquisition of TI Media, and I'll touch on that in a moment, is now 70% of the group, but a more significant percent proportion of the contribution, so at 75% because you've got that 20 percentage point margin differential between the 2 revenue streams.

So the organic growth rates have been really strong, as Zillah touched on, so 11% on total organic growth rate, which is really the benefit of the 32% in Media, offset by the 10% organic decline in Magazines. So I've just included the pie chart which shows the proportionality of each of the different revenue streams and their organic growth rates. So you can see, e-commerce continues to go from strength to strength, up 73% on an organic basis and digital advertising again already strong performance at 25%.

Media other is all the sort of small digital lines and our events business. That declined on an organic basis by 10% because we had one of our big homebuilding renovating shows, which moved from September into October, so it fell after the financial year. And we also had an event we've been running for the last couple of years. It was in the first half, so we talked about it then. It was about breakeven, so we decided it wasn't worth the effort going forward. So it was the event shift and the cancellation of one event, which really dropped that. The other digital lines moved forward nicely.

And you can see here, I've also introduced a new category because one of the things that you've seen that through the course of the acquisitions is we're starting to think about monetizing the audience on our sites and also monetizing the audience who we engage with our content on other platforms. So we've introduced a revenue category of off-platform advertising. Today, that's 4%. We'll see that grow to over 10% next year. And this is really things like the SmartBrief where we've got e-mail monetization. And also, following Barcroft, we'll start to see the monetization through some of the social channels.

So I think that was -- so then just looking at the revenue by geography. You can see that the U.S. is now just over 50% of the revenue. And you can see really as the U.S. is heavily skewed towards the Media business, so the total organic growth rate for the U.S. is at 40% due to a very high sort of 50% Media growth rate within that geography. The U.K., because of the event shift and the much higher SKU of Magazine revenue, has a slightly low organic growth rate at 3%. And then on the bottom chart is the average revenue per user that we've been tracking for the last couple of years. What I've done here is just separate this out into the organic ARPU and then you can see the impact of the acquisitions. So what you can see here is the organic ARPU is continuing to grow very nicely across both territories. So U.S. growing at a slightly faster rate than the U.K., still trying to catch up, but the U.K. is still extending its lead. And then you can see the impact of the acquisitions because as they come in, we're not monetizing those acquisition audiences as effectively as the organic audiences, so you can -- just separate out, so you can see the dilution impact. It is a very mixed portfolio because something like a SmartBrief has very high ARPU because there's very few online users with really strong Media growth, where something like MoNa is like a 40p sort of ARPU because the monetization is just not as strong. So you can see the sort of portfolio effect there.

And then -- so then just looking at the impact of that as the Media revenues flow through to contribution and EBITDA, you can see that we extended our gross contribution margin 4 percentage points as a result of the growth in the Media division. I've also introduced here the split between direct costs and back-office costs. As we grow in scale, one of the things I was aware of is the sort of bucket of overheads was not giving enough kind of direct visibility of the direction or travel of the overall margin. So you can see here the margin after direct costs is 45%. So a good 7 percentage points increase on the prior year as a great result of the kind of the greater mix of the Media revenues.

And then back-office costs, we're very pleased, have reduced from 22% to 20% of total revenues, and that's the thing that we're really looking for, is to make sure that our total overheads are declining year-on-year. So overall decline by 4% year-on-year.

So we covered -- had this slide within the presentation that we did around TI, but just wanted to make sure that we touched on the pro forma revenues of the impact of TI. So you can see, obviously, TI Media has a heavy skew towards Magazine revenue and also has a complementary audience mix to Future in being more heavily weighted towards female audience, whereas Future is more heavily weighted towards male. So we think on a pro forma basis into 2020, the Media revenues will still be more than 50% of the group and more like 60% of the gross contribution.

And then just moving on to the impact of acquisitions within the overall EBITDA. One of the things that we're often asked about is to -- how did the growth perform on an organic basis versus acquisition growth. Because we integrate everything in full, we can look at it on a revenue basis, but it's actually quite hard to see on an EBITDA basis. So what we've tried to do in this chart is just show what was the difference between the acquired EBITDA, the organic growth and then the sort of platform effect. So just talking through the bridge on the left is last year's EBITDA and then the organic growth rate of GBP 5.9 million, which is 29% growth. And then you can see the GBP 14.5 million block that the pro rata of the acquired EBITDA in the year before we have acquired it. And then the GBP 12.4 million, the final block is really the platform effect coming through, where we can see the overall business then grew by an additional GBP 29 million -- 29%. So we were trying to look at it on a kind of pro forma EBITDA basis. So hopefully, that's helpful, and happy to pick up more of that in more detail later.

So we've included this slide before, but just continuing to show the trajectory around EBITDA and free cash flows and margin. So we're very pleased that cash tracks EBITDA, and over time, the margin is continuing to expand, so the EBITDA margin increased by 9 percentage points year-on-year.

And then just looking at the cash flow in a bit more detail. You can see just a couple of highlights. So CapEx increased to GBP 4 million in the year, but -- which is a significant reduction, so 7% of EBITDA proportionally. So just using our resources a lot more effectively. So within the acquisitions is, obviously, the cycling assets that we've had, SmartBrief and Mobile Nations. There is a deferred consideration on Mobile Nations, which comes into the FY '20 year-end, so that's only part of the acquisition cost in there. So the full acquisition is $115 million.

We included a bit more detail on exceptional items, which are principally related to the upgrade to the premium listing and the acquisitions in the year. We are quite strict about what goes in that bucket. And I'm often tipping things out, so it's very much acquisition-related and the professional fees associated with the upgrade to premium listing. So I'd like to touch on that in much more detail.

So in summary, a really strong year. Operating profit up to GBP 52.2 million, up 182% and really good strong organic revenue growth. A couple of acquisitions and then 2 acquisitions post year-end, which Zillah is going to touch on in a bit more detail.


Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future plc - CEO & Executive Director [3]


Great. Thanks, Penny. I was just listening to you thinking about, she doesn't let me say anything below the line. Watch that. I try all the time. And I don't know how many businesses get the operating profit up 182%. And I think it's just one of those things where, I was texting Penny last night kind of in between doing everything, and I was like, "You know these are good results, right?" Because sometimes, we're so busy thinking about what does it mean for next year and how do we do more of the same, you kind of forget to kind of recognize that. So I do think our results are good. And I think that's because we focus on strategy and execution all the time. I'm not going to dwell on this slide on -- in any length whatsoever. But I think the key point that I'm trying to make here is that our model was underpinned by -- a clear operating model is in the organization and that's what drives that platform effect and the ongoing margin expansion. A real belief in centers of excellence, be that revenue center of excellence or cost center of excellence. And so sometimes means you have to take tough decisions about locating people where you can have that center of excellence, but it really does pay dividends through time, and we're very committed to that.

Continue to focus on innovation. We really do think that Media is about innovation, and we have to be at the forefront of that, and that maybe will explain some of the Barcroft stuff we come onto it. And then continue to focus on investment. We're never complacent, and it's not about just taking the profits, it's about making sure these profits are sustainable. And one of the key things we think about is, what are we doing today that's driving next year and the year after and year after, that's performance.

So we've -- you have seen this slide before. It is updated, I promise. But one of the things that helps us execute well is about having 4 core underlying pillars, which drive the business performance. The first one is around diversifying our audience. We are content company. Audiences, in essence, are customers, and therefore, it's really important to think about how we make sure we continue to grow that base and we make sure we stay relevant.

Then it's about the scalable platform, be that the technological platform or also the operating platform. And these 2 things go hand-in-hand. Often what you see in companies is that technology races ahead, but the organization can't catch up or the organization races ahead and technology lags. And we work very hard to try and make sure that both are scalable in our business. It's not always perfect, but we tend to able to catch each other up.

Continued diversification of content monetization. All I know for sure about Media is it's continually being disrupted and diversified. And so we have to do that to ourselves if we want to be the winners in an evolving media landscape. And again, that comes on to some of the investments we've made this year.

And then finally, ongoing investments, be that in people, technology or in assets. And over the next few slides, I'm going to talk about these all in a little bit more detail. However, first of all, because of the rapid change in the business, I wanted to just reorientate us on who our audiences are and who we talk to and how we talk to them. So this slide has our consumer portfolio on it. And you can see that technology has 142 million or so users within that portfolio. So by a long margin, that's our biggest audience portfolio and that includes within it, the TechRadar brands, the Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, but also things like What Hi-Fi? and the more niche products like Laptop Magazine. Within Gaming & Ent, I'm particularly actually proud of the Gaming & Ent's portfolio this year. It is the fastest-growing audience in comScore in the U.K. and in the U.S. this year. These guys are like just on it at the moment and they have really thought through the proposition what the audience wants, pivoted editorially to respond to it. And I don't want to give you the number because every time I look at it, it gets bigger. So -- but significant double-digit growth in audience terms in what are really old sites. They've been around for a long time, so really thinking about within GamesRadar and PC Gaming, what's right for the audience is just know what's particularly exciting about that is the console relaunch next year in 2020. So having the fastest-growing sites in the charts is a great place to be when you're talking to advertisers or trying to get exclusives from PR, so it becomes a very virtuous cycle for us.

And then music, over 20 million users; and then hobbies and knowledge, which is where our science and life science brands sit at over 40 million. So a very strong portfolio. When we complete on the acquisition of Time, we will add 3 new verticals to the portfolio of sports because that's where we'll host all of the sport assets, which will include the golf brand as well as the cycling brands and the football brands.

Women's Interest. So that's very much where Woman & Home, Good to Know, et cetera, and that's where a lot of the health, wellness products will sit. And in Lifestyle, which is the Decanter and My Posh Pets, otherwise known as Horse & Hound, will live. We'll come on to that more in a moment.

In terms of our B2B portfolio, so if you're paying attention on Penny's slide, you'll see B2B is about 15% of the revenue today in the business. It will be about 25% next year, and then we're going to buy time and make all our mix exchange again. But the point around this here is that it's beginning to be a scalable part of our organization. Particularly pleasing is the 6 million audience we've got in B2B Pro and then the addition of just under 6 million audiences through the acquisition of SmartBrief. So in totality, this portfolio is about 15 million users. One of the things we really valued about this SmartBrief acquisition is that e-mail marketing capacity and the first Future SmartBrief is going to go out in December. So it's really great to see that opportunity start to kick in, in terms of scaling that opportunity.

So coming back to the pillars. The first one is all about diversifying our audiences. And when you think about diversifying your audience, what you really need to do is make sure you understand what your audience is looking for and then give it to them. So that's essentially simple, right? How hard can that be? But obviously, it's not quite as straightforward as that. But in essence, that's what we're doing in our businesses. We're looking at what is interesting to our audience and how do we make sure we furnish that to them.

In the Media form, it's appropriate to that interest that they have. Sometimes, that's about experiential, sometimes that's about online, sometimes that's about a personalized newsletter that synthesizes for them, everything that's going on in the day to save them the effort of having to get through all the other bits of content that fill our inboxes up. An audience for us is always the first metric we think about when we think about the health of the organization. If our audience is growing, I kind of feel a whole lot better because everything else is just execution. But if you've actually got more customers coming through your door, you can tell I was a retailer originally, then you know that, ultimately, you can sell more things. And our organic audience grew 31% this year, which I think is tremendous when you think about the rate of change elsewhere in the business and the ease in which we could have been distracted by the shining new brands that we bought. Actually, the core audience grew 31%, so it's really outstanding.

So in terms of how we do that, it's really simple. We stay true to our goals. And again, it's about the discipline in the organization. So we write the content that people want to read, not the content our editors think they want to read. And that's what we see so often goes wrong in media companies whereby editors think that, "I'm interested in this, so all my users are." And that's often not the case, so we're very disciplined about what is the audience interested in.

The second one is about investing in great writers and creators. At the end of the day, this is a creative process, and you have to make sure you invest in that talent. So you'll see here, we increased our headcount in editorial organically 10% this year. Again, I think we're one of the few media companies that's actually investing in headcount and certainly investing in creative headcount. And so it's very pleasing to say that. And then in terms of the absolute population of our organization, our editorial staff account for just about 40%, so the biggest investment in the company sits within this content portfolio and within the people who create it. So it's very much a key year for focus for us.

And I just gave you some highlights here. I'm not going to go through them, but you can see that all our verticals are growing organically. I just picked a few out. When I was going through it last night, I thought I did not mention games, which is why I gave them a sound check earlier.

So one of the things about diversifying your audience is thinking about where is our audience going and what do they want and who else is our audience that we're not reaching. And one of the things about our acquisition strategy is to be interested in the best practice irrespective of whether or not it's ours or the acquired company's best practice. And over the course of the last 12 months, we acquired some businesses that had forums and, historically, we've been very much, "No, no, we have to own the content. It has to be generated by our staff." When we started to dig into this acquired forum population, which is basically user-generated content, this is highly engaged. These are the most engaged people on the sites. They are our biggest fans and our harshest critics. So they keep us really honest editorially and they keep us really honest from a brand perspective. And it's additional audience, which allows us to have a different -- an additional set of monetization behind it. So we decided to lean into it materially; however, one of the things that's also really important is that what we do is scalable. And the forums, the technology that we had acquired was not scalable, and were certainly not GDPR-compliant and not in keeping with our standards. So the first thing we did was build a scalable platform and then what we've done since then is then remigrate everyone onto the new forum technology, which sits alongside the Vanilla platform. Since the Purch forums were migrated in February, we've seen revenue increase 62%. So that's particularly pleasing. But you can get a sense here of the size of some of the forums.

We, over the last couple of months, have launched What Hi-Fi? and Space.com, and what's really interesting is, having never had it in the business, now all the editors want it. And we're kind of trying to kind of like manage it through because what they realize is these are your biggest fans and they are your harshest critics. And so having a relationship with this audience is actually really valuable to us. So another way in which we focus on diversifying our audience.

So the next pillar is about scalable platforms. And again, reusing my favorite slides. This is our technology stack. For those of you who forget or who are like me who have to be reminded in kind of in simple steps. So there's basically 3 elements to the stack. The management and the stewardship of the asset, which is the content, which sits on the right-hand side. In terms of our diagram here, and that' all about -- do we have rights management, is it discoverable, can we reuse it, is it easy -- does the access that content flow across the entire organization, and it's one of the areas of the business that I'm particularly proud of because again when we diligence other companies, we find often that they don't have this.

The middle piece is the website, we call it Vanilla, but it's actually much more than just a website, but it's basically where we distribute the content. So how do you access it in terms of what the user sees. And then the far side is the monetization, how do we make money from that. So what I think makes us unique is not that we have these parts of our technology, it's that we have them all and that they're integrated in so many businesses we talk to have component parts, but not the full stack and that's what helps make us scale. So during the course of the year, we've invested in the stack, in particular, through the development of the Hybrid advertising technology, which I'll will come on in a minute. Also for the acquisition of SmartBrief and then the internationalization and the deployment of Flexi into Vanilla. So continuing to grow the stack.

Just looking at that in a little bit more detail. I always try to think about how can I demonstrate this to you rather than just talk about it. And so what we tried on this slide is to demonstrate the scalability of the Vanilla and Hybrid platforms. So these are the Purch brands that we've migrated. And what you can see is page load speed times on average have halved. Now I can talk to you about how great my stack is, but if I say to you that I've added the load on Vanilla by 50%, 8 more brands joined Vanilla this year. But we still managed to reduce by half the page load speed on those sites and I thought we're beginning to evidence how that scalability happens.

One of the other things then is also about how we actually load those ads and making sure the ad that you see is most relevant to you. So Vanilla working in tandem with Hybrid is able to see what device you're on, how fast you're reading the content and then dynamically work through, okay, "Should I serve you a small ad because you're going really fast, or should I serve you a large ad because you're actually intensely looking at something, and therefore, you're going to see that ad." And that dynamic look back between the platform and the ad stack is one of the things, I think, that helps make us unique, but also helps us make sure the user experience is the optimized one that we deliver.

In regards to the platform, the other thing that I'm trying to think about how to demonstrate scalability was to think about how has the platform developed and what has happened to our audience. So this chart is quite a busy slide, and people kept saying to me to take things out of it, but I refused. On the left-hand side is our search sessions on-site from search, from Google. And it's over the last 4 years, so it's fairly longitudinal and what you can see is that as time has gone on, our sessions from Google have increased and it's organic. So only the core legacy business, so there's no acquisition impact in here. The cross is every time there was an algorithm update, we often get asked what happens in algorithm update. And I always say, touch wood, we've never had a downgrade, we never had an impact. But I actually thought, well, why don't I just show you what we see, which demonstrates that in aggregate across the portfolio, we tend to benefit from the algorithm update through time rather than see any detraction from it. Google like to keep us on our toes. There was actually an algo update this weekend as well, so it's important for Black Friday that we are all dancing around. But again, everything was fine from that, and we're quite happy with how the business is performing.

The table on the other side is all the brands that we've migrated. And the thing I wanted to draw is, you can see in 2015, '16, where we were migrating the legacy brands to Vanilla, this is when we decided to have a one-platform approach, so we previously were running dual tech stacks. Now those brands migrated and during that financial period, the traffic's fairly flat. And we've said often that it takes about 12 to 18 months to get to kind of the optimum benefit of the Vanilla platform, our editorial-based practice and then that kind of just starting to spin in terms of how Google thinks about us. If you then start to think, go 18 months forward and then start to add on new sites, what you can see is that's partly what I think is driving some of the growth is each of the new sites has migrated, starting to get to that point of optimization 12 to 18 months later. So I just thought it might help to give you a little bit more color.

Penny's talked about the revenue diversification. I won't dwell on this slide other than to make the point, which is part of our strategy about diversified revenues has not been overly reliant on any one vertical or overly reliant on any one brand, and I think this slide really helped to bring that to life. However, diversified revenues isn't just about brands or verticals, it's also about products and geographies. And that you know has been a continued focus for us. And what you can see from these slides is that our organic growth continues at pace with the U.S. growing fast and also e-commerce. And so we feel that within the mindset of the pillar of diversified revenues, we are product diversified, geographical diversified, brand diversified and vertically diversified. So we feel that that's working for us.

So then the last pillar is about investments. And I wanted to just highlight the point, which is we're as focused on investing in the core businesses as we are on buying acquisitions. Sometimes people say, you're just buying stuff because it's easy. Absolutely, not at all. First of all, buying stuff isn't easy. We were both up late last night finishing a deal. But actually, buying stuff is about turbocharging the core business. And so what we actually look to do is to drive the core business first. So during the last 4 months, we've actually launched 3 new organic sites, 5G Radar, which is all about leaning into development to consumer technology. We want to be the authority in 5G Radar over the next 3 to 5 years. This is about steadying that place, and we're holding a number of leadership lunches and education sessions within the industry at this moment in time to build our credibility for when that becomes a really material part.

Bike Perfect making cycling a bit more mainstream given the portfolio we've got, just now has launched and we're really delighted with the performance there. And we actually had our first cycling summit with the industry earlier this week. So really leaning into that authoritatively in terms of what we're doing.

And in TechRadar Hispanic launch in September, we're building the traffic to that site just now. I'm going to take it out to the market from an advertising perspective next year. But again, very pleased with the performance of that.

Of course, one of the other areas that you invest in is your organizational health. And we think in future being a responsible employer, be that through corporate social responsibility through that inclusion or through that employee welfare, it's just as important as the other areas. As I said earlier, we're content creators. Our biggest asset is our people, and we have to make sure that we take care of them. But also that we're somewhere they are proud to work, so over the course that we have continued to invest in this over the last few years, but we thought may be helpful to just pull this point out a little bit more. So we, over the last year, have invested in the environment. We have made -- we continue to invest in our people. In fact, at our recent staff conference, we did an Ask Me Anything to the older staff. And one of the staff came back, and said, "We're not very happy with the travel policy." I won't go into the nuance but, basically, we put it to a vote at the conference. I think that, that really is about listening to your staff and letting them see that you're prepared to take feedback. It cost me a few hundred thousand pounds, but it was the right thing to do in terms of actually people felt stressed out about traveling with us because of this part of our policy. So we try really hard to make sure that we listen to the feedback that employees give us, and we take action. We are seen to be responsive.

You can see in the charts at the top our mix of female to male, and our organization is pretty representative across the leadership function as well as in the core staff. We write a lot about male content. So it's a little bit skewed, but it's more about the content we write. And then likewise, in rewards, we've got an outstanding year, and it's really important that people who are most awarded is all our colleagues, and that's why the bonus is so significantly higher for our colleagues this year than it is for certainly myself, we have to disclose that. But I think rewarding performance in the organization is really important as well.

And then in terms of investments, the third part of that clearly is our acquisition strategy, which people talk about a lot. This slide is familiar to most of you. It's about the 4-phase approach we have, Phase 0 being pre-completion; Phase 1, all about getting control; Phase 2 about delivering the business case; and Phase 3 about spinning the wheel faster through optimization. I'm not going to dwell on it in any great detail, but I wanted to just give you a sense of where we are with most of our acquisitions this year sitting at the back end of that. Barcroft, which we acquired last night, comes into Phase 1 now and then TI Media, we're waiting for the competition authorities to read back on that, and we expect that to happen in the spring.

So just looking at the acquisitions we did this year or that we integrated during the course of the year, there were 4 core parts, which we actually acquired last year in September. Cycling, Mobile Nations in March and then SmartBrief in July. I'm going to do a deep dive a little bit more detail on Purch in Mobile Nations, but just briefly, therefore, on Cycling and SmartBrief. I think the headline is we're really delighted. This is going really well for us. Cycling is performing well. We've got significant audience growth at 20% since we acquired it. We've launched the new brand. We've got significant growth in digital advertising and we've got really good relationships going with the industry, which is exactly what we wanted through the expertise. So couldn't be happier with how that's performing. And the talent we acquired have been really great and the chap who runs that portfolio is actually taking on a little bit more responsibility within the group, which is great to see.

And SmartBrief, you remember, is part of an [Aironite], so we can't fully integrate just now because I don't want to pay them for what we give them, so that will be daft. But nonetheless, we're really delighted with the performance there. It's in line with our expectations, and we have been able to start to think about launching a couple of future branded SmartBriefs, which as I said, the first one is happening in December. So we're very, very pleased with how that business unit is performing.

So just looking at Purch in a little bit more detail. The chart that you're seeing there, the gray bars are the audience this year. The red bar is the audience last year. And that's Tom's Hardware and Tom's Guide. The key headline here is audience is growing ahead of last year, having been introduced to the Future model. This acquisition is complete as far as we're concerned. It's been fully integrated. The technology benefits have been realized. The technology team worked very hard in October. They have been all working all the weekends to get the last site migrated before the embargo of the 1st November. So a great effort there, but it's great to have that done before we go in to peak trading. We've all got the playbooks between how we manage expenses through to how we manage SEO, so really industrialized how we work together. Everyone's in the same office now and it just feels like our business is opposed to Purch and Future. And the headline is that it's in line with our expectations, and we're very delighted.

The one thing that's proving to be challenging, but we knew that when we acquired it, was Top Ten Reviews. And we are making more money per user than we were prior to the acquisition, and we have re-platformed. But it just takes a little bit of time before you get the benefits from that. So that's the only site in the portfolio just now that isn't growing in terms of where we are.

And then looking at Mobile Nations. I think this is possibly my favorite acquisition. You're not meant to have favorites, like having a favorite child, right? They're all my favorite, but this one is my most favorite. So this has just been a delight as an acquisition. They absolutely stormed our investment case. They killed our numbers. They've been a delight to work with. It was so obvious that we're going to get to the top end of the range, we thought we should close on that early because let's get on with getting the benefits of working together rather than sit in hold to have a formal process. We had a chat. It was done in a week. It's just symbolic of how they work and how they behave. So it's been fantastic. So ahead of peak trading, we've been busy sharing terms to make sure we optimize all of our e-commerce income around that. And we're obviously helping them though drive more audience from an SEO perspective, et cetera. So that's been great.

And then really nicely, all the founders have decided to stay. They all really believe in our story and want to be part of it. And Marcus, one of the 2 cofounders, is reporting now directly to me, and we've created this thing called Future Labs where MoNa sits, but also is where we're going to get hothouse of innovation. And in fact, he's going to work very closely with the Barcroft studio guys because that feels like a real meeting of cultures in terms of the size of the businesses.

I put down here the Bull Dogs, which are going to be the new Oscars of tech industry, which we've launched for January in Las Vegas at CES, but it's a really good example of where the Future Labs team are able to kind of just think about how they can build our reputation now that we've got the scale and the market in the U.S. So super exciting.

Which nicely brings me onto TI Media. Now before I go into any detail, Rachel, who's going to be our new CFO when we finally get this under our legal entity structure, is here. Rachel, do you want to just -- so if anyone wants to speak to Rachel later or ask a question, please be kind, don't veer off.

So we're really excited about the TI acquisition. And I think -- when we think about our strategy and what we're doing, this is a business, which is U.K. domestic focused, long in print, but with iconic brands and fantastic content is exactly what we should be doing. We put it into the platform. We're going to monetize the content through the platform approach, and then we're going to take it global and monetize it in the U.S. And so when people say to me, I didn't -- I'd be surprised or I wasn't expecting a U.K. asset, I kind of think this is the exact opposite. We've managed to get this asset for a good price, which we can now turn into a really genuine global diversified business. So super excited about it. In particular, really excited about GoodtoKnow, Woman & Homes. It brings us a wellness portfolio, brings us health. These are areas we're really interested in terms of high-value categories. My Posh Pets, I'm very excited about Horse & Hound. I really believe that the Pets Online is a real opportunity to grow.

And then What's on TV, I said to Penny, Marcus at Future Labs is so excited about this, right? We launched -- Disney Plus launched 2 days ago and we've sold about GBP 300,000 worth of commission alone on subscription purchases into Disney+ on our current sites. So we rank #1, 2 and 3 in search across our brands for Disney+ in the U.S. right now.

Now if you think about that and you think we were then suddenly on TV listings, which we can turn into the U.S. and to like how do you work through streaming, and we get paid for subscriptions for streaming. You can see why that's so interesting. The other one is an app. You finally take - do the sensible thing and take TV Times or Radio Times and turn it into an app, which you then personalizes, I'm interested in what's on tonight that sits with where I am. So we just see loads of opportunity, and that's kind of cash annuity paying for all that things to happen. So super excited, can't wait for the CME to see the opportunity for us. No more on that.

And then finally, on Barcroft. So this is Penny's idea. I just want to say this. This is Penny and her Chief Strategy Officer role. I'm smiling because Penny came back and said, "I've been to see this social video company, and we should look at it," and I was like, "What are you talking about?" Right? That's just not who we are at all. But actually, this is us in spades. And if you cut this business in half, it would look like Future is an imposter. So what these guys do is they create unique content. They have a scalable operating model. And then they retain the IP in as much as possible and they monetize it as many times as they can, which is -- sounds like a business I know really well. What they also have is a really good understanding of social whereas we don't. It's not been somewhere that we've played before. So when we talk about how can we make SEO perform, they can talk about how do they get a video to rank in YouTube. How do they get a piece of content to rank in Snap. Now I don't really know much about this. But when I'm talking to my kids, they were like, "Oh, wow, this content is amazing." And so when we think about thinking of the future of media, having a proposition which plays into that social demographic is really important for us. But what's also really important is that when we think about our brands, be that Space.com or life science or the gaming portfolio or the music portfolio, having a way to create video content cheaply at scale, which we can then monetize online and which we can monetize through the social network is hugely valuable. So the Barcroft team actually talk about their model as being the speedy system or the McDonald's system. When you go to the office, it's literally like a McDonald's. For video production, they literally pass the piece of content, editorial around to then they get it live. Superbly impressive business. Some of their brands include Making Mad and Ridiculous Rides on YouTube. Feel free to look them up.

And then in terms of Linear, they produced amazing interiors for Netflix and The Day The Dinosaurs Died for BBC2. Think about our content, you can see instantly the overlaps in terms of some of our genres within that. So we exchanged yesterday and we completed at the end of the month just to keep it nice and neat.

So in summary, another set of really strong results. It's really simple. We focus on our strategy, and we execute behind it. We're constantly thinking about where does media go in the future? How do we make sure we stay ahead of that and at pace? And what we're trying to do is deliver the results today, but also invest for the results in 2 or 3 years' time. And what we're trying to demonstrate in some of the things today is that balance of both. So stuff we're doing today and stuff we're doing today for tomorrow. And as highlighted, we expect our results for the 20-year to be ahead of the Board's previous expectations. Any questions?