Pottermore, the digital publisher of Harry Potter, recorded sales of £31.5m in the year to end March 2019, with pretax profit jumping to £6.9m. Describing the performance as "another very good year", chair Neil Blair highlighted "strong" sales of the original Harry Potter series across e-books and in audio.
The results pre-date the closure of Pottermore.com, with the content shifting to a new website, Wizardingworld.com, a joint venture with Warner Bros, which makes the films, including the new Fantastic Beasts series. The company said the revenue decline, for a second consecutive year, was in line with management expectations, but added that digital publishing sales benefited from more global distribution and the continued popularity of the Harry Potter stories, bolstered by new product and the twentieth anniversary activity in the US.
Pottermore was launched in 2012 as an interactive world based around each book in the original series, as well as the e-commerce site for the e-book and audio download versions of the seven books. In 2015 it morphed into an online encyclopaedia and Wizarding World news service, with the e-books and audio downloads made accessible on a third-party retailer site for the first time.
Pottermore's revenues, built principally from the publishing side, have now grown from £7m in 2015 to £15m in 2016 to 2017's £40.3m, before falling back to £32.8m in the year to end-March 2018 during which period no new J K Rowling book content was produced. In March 2018 the company confirmed a small number of redundancies and indicated that it was working on a new strategy for the business, resulting in the creation of Wizardingworld.com.
Blair added: “This was another very good year for Pottermore. Sales of e-books and digital audiobooks remain strong as the original Harry Potter series continues to find new audiences. Trading in the year to 31 March 2020 has, so far, been in line with management expectations. Sales of Harry Potter e-books and digital audiobooks remain extremely strong and I expect that the current financial year will deliver another good result. Our joint venture with Warner Bros is progressing well and I am very confident that the creation of Wizarding World Digital will deepen fan engagement.”