BBC Magazines sees increase in sales but profits drop

BBC Magazines has seen an increase in sales despite a ‘turbulent’time for consumer magazines.

The magazine business of the BBC’s commercial arm, which publishes titles such as Top Gear magazine and Radio Times, saw an increase in sales – up 3.9 per cent year on year to £177.9 million, according to its annual report.

While reporting an increase in existing operations, the company saw overall profits falling by 16.5 per cent year on year to £16.5 millin.

BBC Magazines says the loss is due to the business investing £5.9m in improving existing and launching new websites, launching new magazine titles – including children’s football weekly Match of the Day – and also due to the company developing its Indian joint Venture Worldwide Media.

BBC Magazines launched a total of five new print titles this year, three into the children’s sector and two titles for adults, Countryfile and Who Do You Think You Are?. However, six small children’s titles were closed as ‘part of the continuous review of the overall portfolio”.

Managing director Peter Phippen said the company had had a strong year ‘despite turbulence in the UK industry and continuing challenges in the advertising market”.

The company reported advertising sales held level with 2006/2007, in comparison with a reported 2.7 per cent decline cross all consumer magazines as reported by the Advertising Association Forecast.

The magazine group’s parent company, BBC Worldwide, overall reported a profit increase of 17 per cent, up to £118 million.

The company, the commercial arm of the BBC, delivers BBC-branded programmes around the world, as well as producing branded merchandise to compliment the programmes, which along with magazines includes books, DVDs and toys.

Profit this year was driven by high sales of Planet Earth DVDs, and total sales for the company, which includes joint ventures, were up 13.1 per cent to £916.3 million.

Just after year end, BBC Magazines established a joint venture with Australian magazine publisher ACP, which previously had a joint venture with NatMag, with plans to produce a version of Top Gear magazine for Australia.

BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith said: ‘BBC Worldwide has achieved another year of double-digit profit growth, while also making significant strategic investments in new businesses to prepare the company for the digital media world. The continued international appeal of our content and formats, coupled with high demand for home entertainment and the strengthening in key markets of our channels and production operations, has enabled the company to report very good results.”

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