News Corp. reported fiscal second quarter results through December 31, with revenues at HarperCollins nudging up by $3 million to 469 million — with all of the gain and then some coming from foreign exchange, which added $8 million in the quarter. EBITDA of $80 million was up $5 million from a year ago, with foreign exchange adding $1 million.
Along with the currency boost, the company cited “higher backlist sales at the children’s books” as a contributing factor, calling out Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks and David Walliams’ Bad Dad as their top frontlist titles. The performance is in line with a typical holiday quarter since the acquisition of Harlequin, comparable to last year as well as the same period three years ago (when they had sales of $469 million and EBITDA of $77 million).
Digital sales increased 2 percent over the previous year, “driven by the growth in downloadable audiobook sales,” and comprised 16 percent of consumer revenues for the quarter.
Sales at parent company News Corp. were $2.18 billion, up from $2.12 billion a year ago. Net loss for the quarter was ($66) million, as compared to ($219) million in the prior year, but the improvement was offset by a charge of $174 million related to the new tax bill.