Harper Collins is a subsidiary of News Corp, a global media and information services company, comprising businesses across a range of media, including news and information services, cable network programming in Australia, digital real estate services, book publishing, digital education, and pay-TV distribution in Australia. Headquartered in New York, the activities of News Corp are conducted primarily in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. News Corp split in two companies in 2013. Television and film assets were put into the new 21st Century Fox, while roughly 130 newspapers (including the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London), educational businesses and other assets formed a new company under the old News Corp name. The split completes a process that the company announced in 2012, and responds to investor concerns that the newspaper and book publishing divisions were dragging on the faster growing pay TV business.
HarperCollins is one of the world’s largest English language book publishers. Furthermore, the company owns over 120 branded imprints, including Avon, Harper, HarperCollins Children’s Publishers, William Morrow and Christian publishers Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, which HarperCollins acquired in July 2012. In July 2014, HarperCollins completed its acquisition of Harlequin, the leading publisher of women’s fiction, from Torstar Corporation.
Analysis Key Developments
For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, revenues at the HarperCollins decreased by 10 million USD, or 1%, to 1.64 billion USD. The company pointed out that the decrease was mainly due to the absence of 42 million USD in sales of the previous bestseller Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, in addition to the negative impact of foreign currency fluctuations and the impact from the absence of the fifty-third week of fiscal 2017.
These losses were partially offset by strong frontlist and backlist sales in the general books category, as well as the 25 million USD impact of the continued expansion of HarperCollins’ global footprint.
EBITDA at HarperCollins increased by 8% in 2017 and totaled to 199 million USD. The increase was primarily due to the mix of titles as compared to the prior year.
Starting with April 2018, Judith Curr joined HarperCollins in the newly-created role of president and publisher of HarperOne, Amistad, and Rayo. She reports to HC CEO Brian Murray, and got a seat on the company’s executive committee.
In June 2017, the company announced that Christopher Goff, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, will retire effective September 30. William (Bill) Adams, Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel at Penguin Random House, has been named General Counsel Worldwide, and takes on oversight of all legal matters for the organization globally.
In November 2017, HarperCollins Publishers announced the appointment of Ralf Markmeier as Managing Director and Publisher of HarperCollins Germany, effective January 15, 2018.
In January 2018, HarperAudio announced the launch of a vinyl audiobook publishing program. The series began in April with the publication of Wild Horses Vinyl Edition + MP3 by Joe Hill and is distributed by Wax, an independent record label that specializes in unique vinyl releases.
In October 2017, the company launched a new imprint named HarperCollins Leadership (HCL), which is focusing on “content designed for individuals looking for inspiration, insight, and tools to help activate their inherent leadership potential,” according to the publisher.
In September 2017, HarperCollins announced the formation of another expanded international division, HarperCollins Hungary. Harlequin Magyarország Kft. (Harlequin Hungary Ltd.) and JV partner Vinton Kft. have operated successfully in Hungary for more than 25 years, directed by Dr. Jozsef Bayer, managing director and co-owner of the company. They will continue their JV partnership under the new name.
In March 2017, HarperCollins Publisher launched a global campaign celebrating two centuries of publishing in commemoration of the company’s 200th anniversary. The centerpiece of the yearlong celebration is a website, www.hc.com/200, that showcases HarperCollins’s storied history and influence on readers of all ages around the world.
In January 2017 HarperCollins took full ownership of HarperCollins Brazil after purchasing the shares owned by local publisher Ediouro.
The company runs worldwide operations in 18 countries and publishes and distributes consumer books globally through print, digital and audio formats. Moreover, HarperCollins offers a catalog of more than 200,000 publications in different formats, in 17 languages, and it licenses rights for its authors’ works to be published in more than 50 languages around the world.
The digital portfolio of HarperCollins includes e-books and audiobooks for tablets, e-book readers and mobile devices. As of June 30, 2017, the company offered approximately 100,000 publications in digital formats. Digital sales, comprising revenues generated through the sale of e-books as well as digital audiobooks, represented approximately 19% of global consumer revenues for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017.
During fiscal 2017, HarperCollins U.S. had 184 titles on the New York Times print and digital bestseller lists, with 20 titles hitting number one, including Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, Settle for More by Megyn Kelly, The Black Widow by Daniel Silva, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines, Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.