Global Brands drives greater long-term value from our premium multi-format brands, including Top Gear and Lonely Planet. It also operates businesses such as licensing that generate the majority of revenues from these hit brands.
Global Brands reported sales of £218.2m, up 15.1% on the previous year, and profit of £44.1m, up 39.1%. These figures include commercial activity on Top Gear, Doctor Who and BBC Earth across all businesses within BBC Worldwide. This activity is reported in each relevant business area, and additionally memo reported here in Global Brands. As such, Global Brands' standalone position consists of Lonely Planet, Licensing, and the costs of managing and developing the brands.
Lonely Planet had a year of very good growth, despite the continued depression of the travel market. Sales were up £8.4m to £51.4m, growth of 19.5%, while profit grew to £1.9m - an improvement of £5.1m on last year.
In its primary book markets of the UK, US, and Australia, the company grew market share. This resulted from a strong set of new titles, including a new Discover series offering highlights of destinations in full colour. However, book sales remain depressed with total volumes in these primary markets down some 25% compared with the situation prior to the global financial crisis in 2007.
The digital business grew strongly, up 37.2% on last year and producing 22.1% of total revenue. The website lonelyplanet.com ended the year with traffic up 17.0% compared to the same period last year. The digital team has been strengthened with a number of new appointments.
Licensing is made up of merchandising, BBC Children's Books (our partnership with Penguin), and our joint venture with Ragdoll Productions to represent their pre-school brands including In the Night Garden and Teletubbies. Revenue grew by 5.4% to £19.5m, but profits fell to £0.3m because of higher contributor costs for merchandising, plus lower profits from Children's publishing.
These three brands have grown strongly, with sales across the company rising by 15.0% to £147.3m and profit by 33.8% to £51.5m. Top Gear's strategy of driving sales of the UK version of the show as well as developing local formats continues to prove successful, with a US version agreed with HISTORYTM during the year. At Christmas, the Where's Stig? book topped The Sunday Times non-fiction UK hardback chart for two weeks.
Despite the lack of a full new series in 2009/10, Doctor Who performed strongly thanks to exploitation of the back catalogue, and the success of four TV specials in maintaining public interest. The near-simultaneous transmission of the new series with Matt Smith as the Doctor took place in Australia, Canada and the US in April 2010, just two weeks after the UK, creating significant buzz and helping to limit piracy.
BBC Earth, our umbrella brand for natural history content, has been rolled out across our DVDs, books and other products to ensure credit comes back to the BBC. The team drives the success of hit titles such as Life through brand partnerships and consumer marketing, and has established a weekly BBC Earth branded block on BBC America.
The costs of managing and developing the brands increased by £3.1m to £7.7m in 2009/10. This increase was primarily a result of staff costs that were previously paid by other businesses now being fully paid by Global Brands, and investment in brand marketing.
Since April 2010, Global Brands has taken on responsibility for the Dancing with the Stars brand, and running several other businesses which are heavily reliant on our key brands - Global Websites (our branded websites), Live Entertainment, our adult books partnership with Random House and BBC Active (our partnership with Pearson). The year ahead should be a big year for Doctor Who as we aim to capitalise on the success of the new series with a range of new products and live events. The speed of economic recovery will continue to influence Lonely Planet's performance, and we look forward to delivering the US version of Top Gear.
|Memo reporting of key brands*||147.3||128.1|
|Brand management and development||(7.7)||(4.6)|
|Memo reporting of key brands*||51.5||38.5|
*Including Top Gear, BBC Earth, Doctor Who
May 2009 saw the launch of In the Night Garden in China. Debuting on Chinese Central Television (CCTV), China's state broadcaster, the launch of the show was supported by a range of consumer products, DVDs and magazine deals to enable the audience to deepen its experience with the brand. This was further supported by a collaborative press launch from CCTV and BBC Worldwide, generating international awareness.