16th January 2013
Bloomsbury Publishing is issuing its Interim Management Statement in respect of the period 1 September 2012 to date.
In the four months ended 31 December 2012, Group operating profits from title sales were up year on year because of lower relative costs of production in the new digital environment and a lower returns rate as the proportion of online sales increased, in spite of a 2% decrease in title sales. Key title sales (which excludes Rights & Services) in this period have come from Paul Hollywood's How to Bake, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Three Good Things and J.K.Rowling's Hogwarts Library. E-book sales continue to show good momentum growing by 58% year on year, in the four months ended 31 December 2012, particularly in the UK.
The recent expansion of our Information division has contributed to an increasing pipeline of Rights & Services contracts. Budgeted income includes £2.7 million from contracts scheduled to be completed between now and the year end.
In November, Polpo by Russell Norman was chosen as their Book of the Year by Waterstones. In this period awards include Ghosts by Daylight by Janine di Giovanni which won the Spear's Book Awards in the Memoir category, River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall which won the Observer Food Monthly Best Cookbook of the Year award, Stella Rimington's international thriller The Geneva Trap which is on the fiction shortlist at the Political Book Awards, The Killer is Dying by James Sallis which won the North American Hammett Prize for best crime novel and Leonardo and The Last Supper by Ross King which won the Governor General's Award for non-fiction in Canada. Two of our titles, Pig's Foot by Carlos Acosta and Ballistics by D.W. Wilson are among the Waterstones Eleven for 2013, these debut titles will receive Waterstones' full backing as potential bestsellers and literary prize contenders for the year ahead.
In the Academic & Professional division the sales of Bloomsbury Professional's new online Tax Planner Service, which launched in October 2012, are ahead of our expectations. The division has also just launched a bespoke e-book platform exclusively for the use of PricewaterhouseCoopers staff around the world to download e-book versions of their various Manual of Accounting titles.
Bloomsbury continues to expand areas of its business in which a significant amount of content has been amassed through the formation of leading online portals or Knowledge Hubs. An example of this in the Academic & Professional division is Drama Online, www.dramaonlinelibrary.com, which will be launched in February 2013. This digital academic subscription service will bring together nearly 1000 plays for the first time from Methuen Drama, Arden Shakespeare and Faber. In addition, sales of the Churchill Archive, www.churchillarchive.com, which launched in October 2012, are exceeding our expectations. We also have a number of other major online Knowledge Hubs as works in progress.
In the Adult division William Dalrymple's Return of a King was launched in India in December, and went to number one in the non-fiction bestseller list. The first ever Wisden India Almanack was launched, with our licensees FidelisWorld, in Chennai on New Year's Eve by the BCCI President in the presence of the Indian cricket captain and other members of the Indian cricket team. William Boyd's Waiting for Sunrise is published in paperback in January and will be accompanied by a major retail promotion.
In December we launched www.justgreatreads.com, an innovative and entrepreneurial e-book marketing campaign. The website allows readers to browse a selection of our best titles and then order from their e-tailer of choice. This global e-book promotion is a first for a general trade publisher directly targeting and encouraging readers across the world looking for e-books. Online banner advertising in the New York Times and The Guardian was supported by a major social media campaign across Facebook, twitter, Google+ and pinterest. This initiative supports our 'One Global Bloomsbury' strategy, our digital investment, and our commitment to our authors and their books.
In the Children's & Educational division Hogwart's Library by J.K. Rowling has performed strongly this quarter. This period also saw the global marketing launch, with augmented reality cover, of Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black which will be published in February 2013. The new Bloomsbury Activity Books have launched and sold well, with a partnership agreed with Shoo Fly to develop related applications.
Mike Bryan joined the Bloomsbury Information division in January 2013. The former President and CEO of Penguin India and Penguin Canada will be particularly involved with the management services provision by the division, as well as providing additional business development experience and resource.
Bloomsbury Information is the original home of our successful Knowledge Hubs and QFinance.com a good example of a hub built from scratch. This Knowledge Hub of narrative information aimed at finance professionals which Bloomsbury developed in partnership with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, now regularly attracts over 300,000 unique visitors per month. Work continues on schedule on the IZA World of Labor Knowledge Hub.
At 31 December 2012 the Group had net cash of £7.7 million (31 August 2012: £10.6 million).
We will begin to have visibility of post-Christmas returns and the important post-Christmas e-book sales over the next six weeks. The results for our 2012/13 financial year will be dependent on these and the completion of several contracts under negotiation. Bloomsbury has been very active acquiring further rights and we are pleased to announce that in 2013 we will be publishing the two major potential bestsellers: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and Elizabeth Gilbert's novel The Signature Of All Things. Six of our top ten bestsellers in the UK in the period before Christmas were cookery books - building on this, we are publishing Paul Hollywood's Bread, which will be accompanied by a BBC TV series in March 2013. Today Bloomsbury is also announcing that it is the new publisher of the successful TV MasterChef series, which is produced in over thirty-six countries worldwide and broadcast in over two hundred territories around the world. The multi-year partnership with Shine 360° will see MasterChef inspired and branded titles published across multiple markets and territories from autumn 2013 onwards.
Nigel Newton, Chief Executive of Bloomsbury, commented:
"We are making good progress on many fronts during the transition of the market towards more digital sales. E-book sales are showing strong momentum and we are greatly encouraged by the potential of our online Knowledge Hubs where we have some large deals in progress.
Bloomsbury is a robust business, well adapted to the challenges of changing publishing trends and the increasing prominence of the digital market place. Our business is underpinned by an extremely strong author list and we are entering the new financial year with new books by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, two of the world's best selling authors."
For further information, please contact:
|Daniel de Belder/Rosanne Perry, Pelham Bell Pottinger||+44 (0) 20 7861 3232|
|Nigel Newton, Chief Executive, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc||+44 (0) 20 7631 5630|
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