The view from the Bridge

Polarisation in Reporting
Published by Neville in Corporate reporting • 05/07/2010 15:26:31
In mid-April, during another life at Likemind, I blogged that the world of Reporting seemed to be changing, in terms of the channels being used.

The mighty HTML wave seemed to be breaking and change was in the air. Well, here we are after the March cohort have gone public and that view has been strengthened.

There are some excellent HTML Report sites out there, and some companies are embracing the digital world whole-heartedly (especially on the Continent). The top line figures are: sixty-five of the FTSE100 are doing HTML, with thirty 'PDFers' and eight 'pagerturners'.

These figures, however, mask the true story, which is that the movement is away from HTML, with ten who used to do HTML now doing PDF only, and three who did 'pageturners' joining them. Only four companies have gone the other way, moving from PDF or pageturner to full HTML.

In addition, five companies have stopped offering a full HTML document and started to present an HTML narrative section with PDF Financials. There are now eight 'partial' HTML Reports in the FTSE100.

There are three other points of note:

1. Four companies - British Land, BT (second year), BHP Billiton and SABMiller - have produced 'Smart' PDFs. These are interactive PDF documents, not mongrel 'pageturners'.

2. Several companies decoupled the publication dates of their print/PDF and HTML this year, publishing the HTML two to four weeks later. On being asked, the main reason given was to do with the workload of bringing two full documents to simultaneous publication. It is interesting that, when the proverbial hits the fan, it is the HTML that gives way.

3. Some twenty or so others are providing a version of what I would call a Reporting Centre. This can take the form of a simple landing page, allowing the reader to choose which Report to go to, to something altogether more sophisticated, incorporating all sorts of digital goodies away from the stifling hands of the box tickers.

All of which gives lots of food for thought and topics for future blogs.