Revenue at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade division rose 1% in 2015 over the prior year, to $164.9 million, but its net loss increased to $7.1 million from $2.9 million in 2014, parent company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt reported Thursday morning. Adjusted EBITDA in the division fell in the year to $7.7 million from $12.7 million.
The revenue gain was led by higher sales of frontlist cooking titles such as The Whole 30, The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook, Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen and Cake My Day partially, offset by prior year strong sales of titles such as the bestselling What If? and The Giver, HMH said.
For the entire company, which includes, the much larger education group, HMH reported total revenue of $1.42 billion, up 3% over 2014. The net loss for the year, however, was $134 million, up 20% from a net loss of $111 million in 2014.
The revenue increase in the education segment included $148 million from the Educational Technology group that HMH bought from Scholastic in May. That increase was substantially offset by lower sales of the domestic education business, HMH reported, which decreased by $98 million, due to large Texas math and science adoptions in 2014. Offsetting a portion of the lower domestic education sales in 2015 was a strong performance in the California math and West Virginia reading adoptions.
In the year-end report, HMH highlighted its efforts in the early learners and consumer markets. To reach those areas, during 2015 HMH launched Curious World, an interactive content service that offers a collection of games, videos and e-books tied to key early learning areas. In the consumer space, HMH re-launched Cliffsnotes.com, acquired e-book and technology assets from MeeGenius, and expanded its technology partnership with gaming platform Osmo.
In prepared remarks, HMH CEO Linda Zecher said 2015 was an important year for the company in its “transformation to one of the world's leading educational media companies.” For 2016, Zecher said, “we plan to extend our K-12 leadership by deepening our business in areas like intervention and professional services, and continuing to expand into important growth markets like consumer and early childhood. With a diverse portfolio that stretches beyond the classroom, we remain uniquely positioned to forge a meaningful connection between school and home."