BBC Worldwide sales surpass £1bn for second year - Licensing.biz

BBC Worldwide sales surpass £1bn for second year

Top Gear, Doctor Who and BBC Earth all perform strongly for Global Brands division.
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BBC Worldwide saw its overall sales rise by seven per cent to £1,074 million in the 12 months to March 31st 2010, exceeding the £1 billion mark for a second year.

Six of BBC Worldwide's seven operating divisions grew sales, despite tough trading conditions in many markets. Operating profits increased 36.5 per cent to £145.2 million, with double digit profit growth in five divisions.

Global Brands - where Children's & Licensing sits - reported sales of £218.2 million, up 15.1 per cent on the previous year, and profit of £44.1 million, up 39.1 per cent. Within the division, Lonely Planet had a strong year of growth, with sales up £8.4 million to £51.4 million, growth of 19.5 per cent, while profit grew to £1.9 million.

In Licensing - which is made up of merchandising, BBC Children's Books and the joint venture with Ragdoll Productions to represent its pre-school brands - revenue grew by 5.4 per cent to £19.5 million. However, profits fell to £0.3 million because of higher contributor costs for merchandising, plus lower profits from Children's publishing.

Top Gear, Doctor Who and BBC Earth were the star performers for the division, with sales for the three brands across the company rising by 15 per cent to £147.3 million and profit by 33.8 per cent to £51.5 million.

Looking ahead, BBC Worldwide believes 2010 will be a big year for Doctor Who, as it looks to capitalise on the success of the new series with a range of new products and live events, while it is looking forward to delivering the US version of Top Gear.

Elsewhere in the company, Home Entertainment returned profits of £40.3 million (up 17.8 per cent on 2008/2009) on sales of £230 million. DVD publishing remains a strong profit generator, accounting for £38.2 million in 2009/2010. BBC Worldwide acquired the 40 per cent stake in 2entertain which had previously been owned by Woolworths during the year.

The Magazine division, however, saw sales dip slightly to £168.3 million.

John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said: "BBC Worldwide once again demonstrated the depth of its businesses and its financial strength in a difficult year for the industry, by lifting revenues beyond a billion pounds for a second year, while also continuing to deliver around ten per cent of the UK's total creative economy exports."

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