HC: digital 'at 20%' of UK revenues

HC: digital 'at 20%' of UK revenues

HarperCollins' financial performance continues to be unclear, with parent company News Corp reporting figures for the quarter ending 31st December 2011 without breaking out the publisher's individual results.

However Victoria Barnsley, c.e.o. and publisher of HarperCollins UK, said that the publisher had had a "fantastic" first half to its financial year, growing both revenue and profit during the Christmas period (second quarter), and with digital revenues now accounting for 20% of overall UK trade revenues.

News Corp reported a 43% decline in operating income in its publishing segment from $380m in the same quarter of 2010 down to $218m, which it said reflected lower advertising revenues at the Australian newspapers and the absence of contributions from the closed News of the World newspaper in the UK.

A spokesperson from HC US said the publisher's performance in the quarter was “led by HarperCollins UK and Zondervan, which had strong increases over the same quarter in the prior year." By comparison, the spokesperson said, HarperCollins US and international markets had "challenging comparisons to the prior year". Print books accounted for "90% of revenues worldwide.”

Barnsley said: “We’re the only one of the large trade publishers to increase market share in our trade publishing and I’m pleased to say that comes from success across different genres and formats. At the same time, our information and Education businesses are thriving in physical and digital formats." 

Barnsley picked out Max Hastings’ All Hell Let Loose, The Downton Abbey TV tie-in, Lorraine Pascale’s Home Cooking Made Easy, "the George RR Martin phenomenon", and in children's, David Walliams' titles, as particularly strong performers in the September to December quarter.  

She added: “We’ve enjoyed huge success with our e-book strategy, with sales up by more than 270% year on year.  HC sold more than 100,000 e-books on Christmas day and we have now passed the 100,000 milestone for 3 of our titles, boosting our digital revenues which now account for 20% of overall UK trade revenues."

Nielsen BookScan figures show HarperCollins print revenues were up 2% year on year in the last quarter of 2011.