×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bertelsmann soars on ‘Fifty Shades’ success

Random House trilogy boosts bottom line

BERLIN — Experiencing a major rise from E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades” trilogy, German media giant Bertelsmann enjoyed a dramatic surge in profit in the first half of the year.

The group, which owns Random House, the world’s largest trade publishing group, and pan-European broadcasting conglom RTL Group, posted a whopping 31% increase in net earnings to Euros353 million ($443 million) as revenue climbed 5% to $9.5 billion.

Record operating profits at Random House drove Bertelsmann’s soaring net profit, the company said. The publisher posted a 64% increase in operating profit to $142 million and a 20% jump in revenue to $1.2 billion, due largely to the spectacular success of the record-breaking “Fifty Shades.”

The titillating trilogy sold more than 30 million copies between March and June, with sales evenly divided between the trade paperback and e-book editions. “The Social Network” producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing the big-screen adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the first book in the trilogy, for Universal Pictures and Focus Features.

The company was also boosted by a number of other bestsellers, including George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy series, the basis for HBO’s smash-hit “Game of Thrones,” John Grisham’s “Calico Joe,” Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” and Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax.”

In line with Bertelsmann’s goal of moving to digital, the company said e-book sales at Random House continued to grow significantly in all territories.

Bertelsmann said almost all of its divisions contributed to the increase in revenue.

As previously reported, RTL posted a 15% drop in net profit to $344 million between January and June, while first-half revenue climbed 3.3% to $3.5 billion.

Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe said the company is looking to accelerate momentum with a four-pronged strategy that would “gradually reshape Bertelsmann over the next few years, including strengthening its core businesses, transforming its businesses to digital, developing and expanding growth platforms and expanding into growth regions such as Asia and South America. Bertelsmann recently opened new corporate centers in India and Brazil.

Looking forward, Rabe said he expected moderate growth for the current year and a year-on-year increase in net profit.

“However, the subdued economic prospects and the euro crisis, whose repercussions are challenging to gauge, making it difficult to predict future developments at this time.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content