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29 October 2014
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21.03.02

BBC Worldwide announces new business structure for market leading audio group


BBC Worldwide, the UK's leading publisher of spoken word audio titles, has announced its new business structure, which comes into effect this month. This announcement comes as the company celebrates scooping top honours at last week's British Book Awards (the Nibbies), with the success of Alan Bennett's The Laying On of Hands winning SWPA Audiobook of the Year, and Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass, and JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, both being shortlisted.


Under the new structure there will be four distinct but complementary imprints, all serving different segments of the market:


BBC Radio Collection
The award-winning portfolio of broadcast-related titles, from full-cast dramatisations, classic and contemporary comedy, poetry, history, science fiction and abridged readings.


BBC Cover to Cover
All unabridged children's titles (except Harry Potter releases), including unabridged titles previously published under the Cavalcade imprint, such as Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife, read by Philip Pullman. Harry Potter will continue to carry the imprint Cover to Cover Cassettes Ltd.


BBC Word For Word
Contemporary unabridged fiction previously published under the Chivers imprint, and including best-selling titles by authors such as Dick Francis, Joanna Trollope and Maeve Binchy


Cover to Cover Classics
Unabridged classic fiction for adults from both the Cover to Cover and Chivers lists, to include titles such as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.


Announcing the new line-up at the London International Book Fair today (Monday, March 18th), Paul Dempsey, Director of the BBC Audio Group, said: "Despite the rapid growth of the format in recent years, we believe there is still a large untapped market for spoken word, both in the UK and internationally. Now that we have such strong assets in both broadcast-related material and unabridged readings, we feel we are perfectly placed to make serious inroads into that potential."


A major player in the market since launching its BBC Radio Collection imprint in 1988, BBC Worldwide has expanded vigorously into unabridged readings over the last 14 months. In December 2000 it acquired Cover to Cover Cassettes Ltd with its catalogue of classic titles for adults and classic and contemporary favourites for children. The deal also included the licence to publish Stephen Fry's acclaimed readings of the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. Then in July 2001 it acquired Chivers Communications Ltd, which has over 3000 unabridged readings of classic and contemporary fiction.


Notes to Editors
BBC Worldwide's extensive audio operation produces an unparalleled list of titles in an industry that is now worth a staggering £80 million a year in the UK alone. With the acquisition of Chivers, the company now has more than 4,100 titles in its catalogue. The market for audio has grown by 24 per cent year on year, with over two million adults in the UK bought a spoken word cassette or CD in the past year.


 


BBC Audio Trade Imprints - factfiles


BBC COVER TO COVER…BBC RADIO COLLECTION…BBC WORD FOR WORD…COVER TO COVER CLASSICS
Director Audio, Paul Dempsey
Publishing Director, Jan Paterson*
Sales and Marketing Director, Rachel Stammers/Rhian Griffith
International Development Director, Stephen Davies*
Sales Director, Stephen Edney*
Operations Director, Julian Batson*


BBC RADIO COLLECTION


History/Branding: Launched by BBC Worldwide in 1988 and containing an unparalleled collection of contemporary and archive material, the imprint includes all broadcast-related titles. Expanded to include Radio 4 Books in 2000, it now has more than 900 titles in its catalogue, ranging from full-cast dramatisations to classic and contemporary comedy, popular abridged children's classics, history, science fiction, thrillers, poetry and drama.


Key titles for 2002: In April, fans of BBC Radio Collection's range of Alan Bennett readings are anticipating the release of Hymn; a musical memoir of childhood combining the talents of Bennett and the Medici String Quartet. The acclaimed and hugely popular series This Sceptred Isle: The Dynasties is also available in April as a boxed set. The unique talent of Spike Milligan is celebrated in two special releases for May, Spike Milligan: The Collection, and Spike's Poems, on audiocassette and CD. In the autumn, further instalments of the wickedly funny Radio 4 comedy show Dead Ringers will be available, as BBC Radio Collection releases series 4 and Dead Ringers: The Collection.


Bestsellers: This Sceptred Isle, Agatha Christie and anything connected with Alan Bennett consistently top the Radio Collection's charts, as does Martin Jarvis's award-winning readings of Richmal Crompton's Just William series. Perennial best-sellers include the classic comedy series' from the heyday of radio, such as Round the Horne, The Navy Lark, Hancock's Half Hour and The Goons and titles well-known to television viewers such as Absolutely Fabulous, Fawlty Towers and Dad's Army. Recent sales successes include the re-released Lord of the Rings dramatisations starring Ian Holm (over £2 million worth of Tolkein-related product has been sold at retail in this financial year alone), Simon Schama's A History of Britain, which benefited from the accompanying television series, book and video and more current comedy titles such as Dead Ringers and I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue (which has sold £250,000 worth at retail across all 6 volumes).


Awards: BBC Radio Collection has consistently received more awards than any other publisher since the premier annual awards, The Talkies, began in 1995, winning four out of five Talkie of the Year awards with Alan Bennett's Talking Heads 2, Tom Wolfe's Ambush at Fort Bragg, This Sceptred Isle and Alan Bennett Diaries 1980-1990. Alan Bennett's The Laying on of Hands won the first Audiobook of the year award at the British Book Awards (Nibbies) in March 2002.


People: Piera Johnson, Managing Editor, Radio Collection; Steve Crickmer, Marketing Manager, Radio Collection; Rosie Whittam; Press Officer


BBC COVER TO COVER


History/Branding: Cover to Cover was founded by Helen Nicoll in 1983 and acquired by BBC Worldwide in December 2000. Cavalcade's children's titles were acquired in 2001. The imprint now known as BBC Cover to Cover specialises in high quality, unabridged titles which represent the best in children's literature, including acclaimed best-selling authors Philip Pullman, Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl, Jill Murphy and Dick King-Smith, as well as old favourites such as The Railway Children. In addition J K Rowling's hugely popular Harry Potter novels are published under the imprint Cover to Cover Cassettes Ltd


Key titles for 2002: The enormous success of the four Harry Potter titles and the two Christmas releases for 2001 will be followed up this June by a CD and audiocassette Travel Version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Two Jacqueline Wilson titles, The Story of Tracy Beaker and Vicky Angel, read by Sandi Toksvig, and will be released on CD for the first time, and there are releases of one title from Anne Fine and three from Dick King-Smith. Other children's favourites released this Spring include Finn Family Moomintroll (Tove Jansson) read by Hugh Laurie, and Groosham Grange (Anthony Horowitz) read by Nickolas Grace; and Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife, read by the author.


Bestsellers: Stephen Fry's recordings of the first four Harry Potter audiobooks sold more than 330,000 units in 2001 alone. Other children's bestsellers last year were Jacqueline Wilson's Vicky Angel, The Cat Mummy, Girls In Love and The Dare Game, which have sold over 25,500 units between them, More Winnie The Pooh Stories by A.A. Milne (6,000 units) and The Ruby in the Smoke by Anton Lesser at 3,500 units.


Awards: Recent awards include the 1999 Children's Talkie Award for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and the 2001 Gold Category Spoken Word Award for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.


People: Nicole Kirkman*, editorial director, adult and children's unabridged; Tracy Leeming, manager, Harry Potter; James Whitaker, marketing manager, children's; Kate Walsh, children's editor.


* key contacts at the London International Book Fair


BBC WORD FOR WORD


History/Branding: Word for Word was originally an imprint of Chivers Communications Ltd, which was acquired by BBC Worldwide in July 2001, bringing a backlist of more than 3000 unabridged readings of classic and contemporary fiction. A relatively niche player in the market, Word for Word was well known as a specialist in the adult unabridged category. The relaunched imprint, BBC Word for Word, will extend the quality and production values associated with the BBC brand to drive significantly increased sales. Its list focuses on best selling mass market fiction to provide an entertaining and engaging listening experience.


Key titles for 2002: Among the tempting titles on offer this year are best-selling books by Dick Francis (Shattered), read by Tony Britton; Joanna Trollope (Girl from the South), read by Lorelei King; and Maeve Binchy (The Copper Beech), ready by Kate Binchy (the author's cousin) all due for release this summer.


Bestsellers: Top-selling titles under the Word for Word imprint have included PD James' Unnatural Causes, read by Michael Jayston; The Carousel by Rosamund Pilcher, read by Frances Barber; Ruth Rendell's Wolf to the Slaughter, read by Robin Bailey; Jonathon Cecil's reading of PG Wodehouse's Right, Ho Jeeves; and Catherine Cookson's A Grand Man, read by Susan Jameson. Popular titles in the thriller genre include Tony Britton's reading of Dick Francis' Blood Sport; and Stephen Thorne's reading of A Morbid Taste for Bones, by Ellis Peters.



COVER TO COVER CLASSICS


History/Branding: This imprint incorporates the classics titles from both the Chivers unabridged adult fiction list and adult titles from the original Cover to Cover list. The list is well established within the retail market and has a well-developed direct sales operation. Customers are typically affluent and well educated, with an appreciation of literary fiction, especially the classics. In producing the product, great care is taken to match the text and the reader to create a high quality listening experience; a quality which is also reflected in the packaging.


Key titles for 2002:
Jeremy Irons reads Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, released this July, and Hugh Dickson reads Charles Dickens' Bleak House, released earlier this year. Other major titles for this year are Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, read by Philip Madoc and Juliet Stevenson reading Mrs. Gaskell's North and South.


People: Nicole Kirkman* Editorial Director, unabridged audio; Christine Graham*, Marketing Manager, adult unabridged



* Key contacts at the Book Fair



BBC's Top 20 Best-selling Audio Titles:

  • THE LORD OF THE RINGS (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • THE HOBBIT (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • THE TWO TOWERS (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • THE RETURN OF THE KING (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE - ADULT (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE - COMPACT DISC (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE - CHILDREN'S (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • DOCTOR WHO: FACELESS ONES, THE (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • HANCOCK'S HALF HOUR, THE COLLECTOR'S EDITION: SERIES 4 (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • THIS SCEPTRED ISLE: 55BC-1999 BOXED SET (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • DOCTOR WHO: THE DALEKS' MASTER PLAN (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS - COMPACT DISC (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (BBC COVER TO COVER)
  • THE LORD OF THE RINGS - CHILDREN'S COVER (BBC RADIO COLLECTION)
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS - ADULT (BBC COVER TO COVER)





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