Penguin UK to push '360 degree approach' in 2013

Penguin UK c.e.o. Tom Weldon has said the publisher will be making connections with creative technology providers at Silicon Roundabout and at SXSW Festival, as well at London Book Fair and Frankfurt, as it looks to take a "360 degree" approach to its IP.

Weldon said Penguin would continue to focus on its brand in 2013, pushing new strands such as events series Penguin Live, and Penguin Ventures, which will seek to make new partnerships dedicated to making the most of IP in TV, games, and merchandising.

Weldon promised "more deals and partnerships" for the coming months. "We are all about a 360 approach: e-books, apps, TV programmes, virtual worlds, other consumer products. And we're not just talking about it, we're putting money behind it and doing it," he said.

Silicon Roundabout is the nickname for the growing hub of technology companies based in east London, while SXSW is an annual series of festivals in Austin, Texas, which brings together culture and technology.

Weldon said: "We're very fortunate to have publishing's only true consumer-facing brand, and we have to use that. It will take time, but it will be worth it."

Meanwhile John Duhigg, Dorling Kindersley c.e.o. said DK was also ensuring it worked well with partners, and was able to be digitally responsive. He said: "The next year will be about ensuring we focus on making the most out of every new opportunity, whether that be a new customer, a new market, or a new platform. It's difficult to say what technologies will succeed, but we want to know that whatever it is, we will have the skills to respond and make sure we are on top of it."

Weldon and Duhigg were both speaking in the wake of the release of the Penguin Group's 2012 results, which showed a 1% rise in sales to £1.05bn, but an 12% drop in profits to £98m. Individual company results were not broken out.

Weldon said: "In terms of sales and profits, these were the best results we've ever had. We're absolutely thrilled. I think a large part of it is down to the diversity of the publishing. Everyone was meeting their targets and doing it very well, across all the imprints  we've been firing on all cylinders. Whether it was something like Thinking Fast and Slow, or the complete other end of the spectrum, like Sylvia Day . . . then there's been huge successes in children's, as well as Jamie having another amazing year."

Speaking about the planned merger with Random House, Weldon said: "At the moment, it's business as usual. The deal still has to pass all the regulatory authorities in many countries. We're still two separate businesses, and we are making all of our decisions based on our own criteria . . . If the merger is approved this year it will be very, very
exciting, but up till then it's business as usual, and getting on with the day job."

The merger, which would see Penguin's parent company Pearson own 47% of the combined companies, compared to Random House owner Bertelsmann's 53%, was
approved by the US Department of Justice on 14th February.