Future Publishing plc is one of the largest media businesses in the UK. Employing hundreds of people, they publish nearly 200 magazine titles spanning subjects including video games, shooting and photography. Magazine publishing has been transformed more than most sectors during our Internet age, presenting great opportunities and challenges to those in the industry.

Future has embraced digital media channels and has a website that attracts 49 million global unique users per month. Their success in adapting to a changing world has seen them named Digital Publisher of the Year twice in recent years.

Mobile app development is a particularly exciting area of the digital world. For Future, harnessing the power of the Apple Newsstand app was an important objective for distributing their publications digitally. Push notifications were identified as a strategy to achieve this goal.

While off-the-shelf solutions were out there, a big decision was required to determine whether to commit to integrating their systems with a third party provider or to develop a proprietary solution which gave them better control. They opted to build their own bespoke system, and charged their in-house technology team with the task.

Even though push notification technology existed, trade secrets meant that Future would have to take on risk and uncertainty in building their own system – an important consideration in the R&D tax credit claim process. Key challenges included building a system that was:

  • Robust enough to handle 22 million users.
  • Sufficiently personalised so that it would not be regarded as spam and be disabled by users.
  • Flexible enough to be successfully modified in the future – for instance by adding unique voucher codes.

The technology team rose to the challenge and produced a proprietary push notification system that has made a significant positive commercial impact on the business.

ForrestBrown helped Future navigate RDEC with this project along with more than ten other projects for two claim years. We provided advice, technical resources, and used our expertise to uncover further R&D for their RDEC claim that may otherwise have been missed. Oli Foster, the group financial controller summarises his experience of working with ForrestBrown:

We started working with ForrestBrown back in 2014. Lisa-Marie Smith, a director, came to visit us and has led the work ever since. That continuity has been an important selling point. She’s smart, switched on and personable.

Working with ForrestBrown is an engaging and painless experience. In our case, they invested a lot of time with our chief technology officer showing real enthusiasm for our various innovations. Once they have the information they need, they just get on with it. Oli Foster, Group Financial Controller, Future plc

Oli Foster continues:

ForrestBrown have been responsive and proactive in all of our dealings. Continuity of team has allowed them to really understand our business. Their considerable technical firepower through in-house specialists is a great resource for a business like Future. We value our relationship with ForrestBrown and look forward to working with them on future R&D claims. Oli Foster, Group Financial Controller, Future plc

Related case studies