×

GUTERSLOH, Germany — For the first time, the U.S. market was the top source of revenues for media conglom Bertelsmann AG, which Wednesday reported a year-on-year increase in revenues of 13% for the last fiscal year running through June 30.

Bertelsmann’s U.S. operations accounted for 34.7% of the group’s consolidated revenue, which reached DM26 billion ($14 billion). Bertelsmann’s group revenues hit $16 billion. This includes revenue generated by its daughter company CLT/Ufa (50% stake), which is not included in the consolidated figures. Net profit rose by 2.6% to $489 million.

The book division was the largest earner in the group, accounting for 30.8% of consolidated revenues.

This was closely followed by Bertelsmann’s music activities, which chucked in a 30.1% stake. These business areas grew by 27.4% and 3%, respectively, year on year.

Multimedia expansion

But the fastest-growing part of Bertelsmann was multimedia, which increased by 53% year on year. But the division still accounted for a mere 1.8% of total revenues.

“Our most urgent task is to further strengthen the core businesses and to expand Internet operations as part of the core biz,” Bertelsmann’s chief executive Thomas Middelhoff said.

Much more of a worry to the company than the emergence of megaconglomerates such as Viacom/CBS are the upstart Internet players emerging onto the market, Middelhoff said. “We are the No. 2 in e-commerce worldwide, but we are going to become the No. 1 one,” he said.

New-media competition

Reflecting on the company’s multimedia drive, Middelhoff said companies offering multimedia and telecommunications services were now being watched just as closely as its traditional rivals such as Disney and Time Warner.

Further units of the company will be floated in the first half of next year, Middelhoff added.

So far, its joint online venture BarnesandNoble.com has gone public, with multimedia agency Pixel Park, another joint venture, set to follow. Bertelsmann is not allowed to float core subsidiaries due to an agreement in place with the Mohn family, the main shareholders.