'Strong quarter' for HC despite NewsCorp losses

'Strong quarter' for HC despite NewsCorp losses

HarperCollins UK has reported a strong quarter to end September 2012, despite a 48% fall in operating income for the publishing division of its parent company NewsCorp.

HC claimed the quarter presented a "strong start to our financial year" with "increasing revenues", although no individual figures for the publisher were broken out from NewsCorp's divisional results.

A spokesperson said: "HC has had a strong start to our financial year (July-Sept), increasing revenues year-on-year, thanks in part to a great performance by David Walliams' Ratburger (at number one for a seventh week) and Hobbit fever building ahead of the film release for Christmas. Elsewhere in fiction, Fourth Estate's revivifying Nikki Gemmel's backlist has been a great success and Bernard Cornwell's 1356 has delivered, as usual, for all his many fans, old and new."

The spokesperson added: "E-book revenues are up by nearly 150% year on year, especially in fiction even before the Booker boost, Hilary Mantel's Bring Up The Bodies was the top e-book of the quarter. Market share was more or less flat which is an achievement bearing in mind the Fifty Shades phenomenon."

NewsCorp has reported huge losses in its publishing division, which also includes their portfolio of newspapers such as the Times and the Sun, with operating income falling $53m (48%) to $57m.

The company blamed the losses on lower advertising revenues, especially in the US and Australian newspaper businesses, but added that the declines were partially offset by the HC acquisition of Christian book publisher Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Overall, NewsCorp beat expectations with a 2% increase in revenue to $8.14bn, driven by successes in TV cable networks.

The company also reiterated its plans to divide the business into separate entertainment and publishing divisions by the middle of 2013, following approval from regulatory bodies.