Penguin Random House UK Audio is set to be a standalone division to foster a "unified audio strategy" across the whole company.
The division's "ambitious growth programme" will operate under the leadership of Hannah Telfer, group director for consumer and digital development, who takes the mantle of m.d. for Penguin Random House Audio in addition to her current role which she has held for two years. She first joined Random House as a sales director for Ebury publishing in November 2001.
PRH's audio publishing produced both its "biggest-ever selling" audio download in 2015 with The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins and its "fastest-ever selling" title with YouTubers Dan Howell and Phil Lester's The Amazing Book is Not on Fire last year. It also became publishers of BBC Audio, publishing audiobooks from the BBC Radio network and archives.
Ian Hudson, deputy chief executive for PRH UK, said: “Having led the team that has revitalised our audio publishing, forged a number of key partnerships and delivered significant growth, Hannah is perfectly placed to take on the role of managing director of our new audio division working closely with our publishers to offer our authors the best possible home for their audiobooks.”
Telfer said: “Penguin Random House is already the biggest audiobook publisher in the UK. Last year alone, through our unique combination of our audio and broadcast experts using our own bespoke in-house studio and working with the best performance talent, we commissioned and published a stunning array of audiobooks. We sold more than 30m hours of audio and we know we can sell more. By launching as a standalone division, we will have one unified audio strategy across Penguin Random House UK with our expert audio team working hand-in-hand with their publishing colleagues.”
She added: “Audio is a brilliant way for us to take our authors to even bigger audiences and we will continue to invest in the highest quality production values, work with the best performance talent – including the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Patti Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry and Sheridan Smith - and find ever more creative ways to market and distribute our titles.”
Kate Willoughby has subsequently been made PRH UK's first dedicated audio marketing and communications manager, reporting to audio publisher, Videl Bar-Kar. Willoughby joins the company from Universal Pictures where she was marketing manager responsible for devising and executing marketing campaigns across a range of movie releases. She will lead the audio marketing strategy, working closely with marketing and publicity teams from across the business.
Her appointment follows that of Caroline Raphael as editorial director from a career commissioning audio for BBC Radio, including Little Britain, The League of Gentlemen and Cabin Pressure.