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The ongoing appeal of Peppa Pig, Harry Potter and other big titles keeps the income flowing for two media groups
Thursday 24 May 2018 Author: Daniel Coatsworth

The benefits of having successful franchises are made crystal clear in the latest results from Entertainment One (ETO) and Bloomsbury Publishing (BMY).

Both companies are riding high thanks to ongoing sales from certain titles which have the hallmarks of being evergreen brands, potentially giving them longevity as new generations discover their appeal in years to come.

Peppa Pig generated $1.3bn in retail sales in the year to 31 March 2018, providing £84.7m revenue to majority brand owner Entertainment One as its cut from merchandise agreements. It makes additional licensing money from TV and digital platform broadcasting although the exact amount isn’t disclosed as the income is lumped in with Entertainment One’s overall Family division.

Chief executive Darren Throop says Peppa Pig is still growing in both emerging and mature markets and that there is much further growth to come. Broadening the opportunity for future income will be more immersive experiences such as new Peppa Pig theme parks and live shows.

Bloomsbury says sales of its Harry Potter series grew by 31% in the year to 28 February 2018 – a remarkable feat given that the franchise launched 21 years ago. It says ‘every year these classics reach a new generation of readers’. The publisher continues to find new ways to monetise the wizard story including illustrated editions.

Entertainment One isn’t solely reliant on Peppa Pig as it boasts multiple franchises in its portfolio. For example, PJ Masks is proving to be another big hit and achieved $1bn retail sales in the past financial year, resulting in £48.8m revenue for Entertainment One which shares ownership of the brand with Disney and other undisclosed parties.

Exploiting successful franchises is also a key part of Entertainment One’s TV business where it owns titles such as The Walking Dead and Ray Donovan. Throop says the company likes to focus on popular shows and to keep making more of them.

It also makes sure ongoing success doesn’t come at a cost to the business, such as actors and crew commanding higher salaries as shows increase in popularity. ‘Some of our deals have ratchet agreements whereby the broadcasters pay more for each subsequent series,’ explains Throop.

The acquisition in January of the remaining 49% stake in The Mark Gordon Company it didn’t already own means Entertainment One now boasts popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy in its portfolio. The television show has been renewed for its fifteenth season, making it the longest running scripted prime-time show currently airing on the ABC network in the US.

Entertainment One’s content library is currently valued at $1.7bn, however that figure is considerably out of date given the valuation was done in March 2017 and it has produced and acquired a considerable amount of content in the subsequent period.

A new library valuation will be published alongside the company’s half year results in November. (DC)

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