Live Events Responsible for Three-Quarters of 2012 Profits, UBM Reports

Multinational media company UBM — owner of news distribution company PR Newswire and numerous media properties, including Information Week, Game Developer magazine and Building magazine, among many others — organized 100 annual trade shows in 2012, which along with 35 biennial events generated over 50 percent of its total annual revenues and nearly 75 percent of its total annual profits, the company announced this month.

Specifically, UBM’s events business generated $651 million in continuing revenues in 2012 and $211 million in continuing adjusted operating profit. The former accounted for 54.9 percent of the company’s annual total, up from 50.1 percent in 2011, while the latter accounted for 73.9 percent of the company’s annual total, up from 70.7 percent in 2011.

“2012 has been another good year for UBM both operationally and strategically,” UBM CEO David Levin said in a statement. “Events now account for three-quarters of the group’s continuing operating profit. We have continued to focus on large trade shows; in 2012, 100 annual events generated revenues of more than [$1.4 million] — accounting for 85 percent of annual event revenues.”

According to UBM, revenues from its 100 annual trade shows grew 15.3 percent in 2012 to $614 million, up from $532 million in 2011. This encompasses a 16.3 percent increase in revenues from exhibitors, a 13.7 percent increase in revenues from sponsors and a 12.6 percent increase in revenues from attendees.

Revenue increases at its 100 annual events — which included several new acquisitions, including Ecobuild and the Malaysian International Furniture Fair — reflect portfolio-level growth in exhibitors (53,500, up 9.1 percent from 49,000), attendance (1.6 million, up 7.4 percent from 1.5 million in 2011) and square footage (4.5 million square feet, up 12.4 percent from 3.9 million square feet).

UBM describes itself as a “global live media and B2B communications, marketing service and data provider.” In recent years, it has scaled back its traditional publishing business, which suffered declines in both print and online revenues — down 40 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively — in 2012.

Although unprofitable, Levin said parts of UBM’s print business will have a future with the company as part of the broader strategy of building communities that support events and other marketing activities.

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