Publishing drive key for Potter programme

Panini and DeAgostini planning Half-Blood Prince tie in pushes.
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Since Harry Potter first arrived in 1997 in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the seven book series has sold 400 million copies worldwide.

Publishing is obviously a key category within the licensing programme for the brand, with Panini and DeAgostini being major partners.

DeAgostini's Harry Potter Figurine Partworks collection will launch this year throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia. The firm has sold more than 23 million units of its Chess partworks to date.

Isabelle Giggins, global licensing director at DeAgostini, said: "Harry Potter Chess has been one of our most successful collections over the last two years. Our partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products has enabled us to join forces to create a unique product that captured the imagination of millions of Harry Potter fans worldwide."

DeAgostini recently organised a simultaneous screening of the first five Harry Potter movies in Milan, with special appearances from the cast of the Half-Blood Prince.

Meanwhile, Panini's relationship with the brand continues to grow. The firm launched its World of Harry Potter programme in 2008 and will kick off its Half-Blood Prince drive later this year.

To date, Panini has sold in excess of one billion stickers.

Peter Warsop, group licensing director at Panini, commented: "Sales volumes for each movie launch have been maintained to surprising levels. We have found new markets for the franchise with each launch, with over 70 international territories normally being involved."

In addition, an in-store promotion has also been taking place in 300 WH Smith stores, highlighting the vast range of Harry Potter licensed publishing products available from BBC Children's Books and Panini.

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