Pearson, the company behind the Financial Times and book publishers Penguin has reported profit growth, despite the downturn and is increasing its move towards becoming a digital services business.

Pearson reported in its interim results for the first half of 2009 that operating profit has been increased by 25 per cent.
Whilst rivals such as the Guardian and Telegraph news groups have relied on advertising revenue to support their print and online news services, the FT Group, which publishes both the famous pink newspaper and has had a strategy of driving up subscription revenues over the last five years. Pearson claimed in its interim results today that the strategy is working. "We do not see the advertising cycle turning any time soon; but we do expect the FT Group's high quality information and analysis to remain in demand and its subscription business to remain resilient," it said.

The Penguin book business
has been investing in eBooks and online communities around its fiction. The publisher has 10,000 eBooks available and will have 14,000 by year end it said. A series of social network and interactive investments have also performed well for the company.

The Pearson Education division is dependent on the second half of the year when demand for new educational books is high, but Pearson said in the first half trading was higher than expected and had produced a five per cent growth.

Marjorie Scardino, chief executive, said of the technology investments: "The transformation we've been pursuing for a decade - from 'publishing' company to content, technology and services company - is paying off.

Over the past six years, Pearson has delivered substantial growth; this year is about proving our resilience and competitive edge. So far, we've passed the test. Market conditions are tough and may stay that way; but we are confident that we will perform well this year and next."