The Belgium-French group Média Participations is the largest publisher of comic books in Europe. Sixty percent of the company's new titles each year are bandes dessinées, or comics, which account for sales of 20 million from an overall 32 million. 2010 has seen modest growth from the continuous exploitation of the previously acquired stocks, as well as strategic investments in digital in-house developments.
Média Participation principal brands are the comic book publishers Dargaud, Dupuis, Le Lombard, and Kana (manga); Citel Video; Dargaud-Marina; Ellipsanime; multimedia companies Dupuis Audiovisuel and Anuman Interactive; children's book publisher Fleurus; and religion publisher Mame. Cartoon brands include Blake et Mortimer; Lucky Luke; Les Schtroumpfs (Smurfs); Blueberry; the series XIII and Thorgal; and more recent blockbusters such as Isaac le pirate and Blacksad. Citel Video gains multimedia revenue from Astérix, Tintin, Babar, Caroline, and Corto Maltese.
Media Participations also runs its own production studios, resulting in a yearly output of roughly 1500 hours of TV programs, and is involved in other publishing activities such as the magazine Rustica.
The controlling holding company, MP Belgique, is under Belgium law, initiated in 1985 by former long time politician Rémy Montagne, and set up in today’s configuration in 1991 by his son Vincent Montagne, with a vast majority of the shares held by the Montagne family and a minority stake by Axa insurance company.
Média Participations has a staff of roughly 1,000, with offices in France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and the US.
Key company developments in 2011 & 1st half year 2012
Média Participations does not release detailed financial data other than annual revenues, which show modest yet steady organic growth over the past several years.
Ownership, mergers & acquisition, internal organization:
The current President and CEO, the son of the company’s founder, took over in 2007.
Bestselling authors & titles:
Key points for analysis & conclusions:
A key moment in the group’s history occurred in 2004 when a bid for the French publishing group Editis, then held by Lagardère/Hachette, failed. Yet in that same year, Média Participations acquired the Belgium comic book publisher Dupuis from Albert Frère for 102 million EUR, turning the company into Europe’s leading powerhouse for comic books.
In 2006, comic books represented 31% of the group’s revenues, with 400 albums published (with Mangas representing one third).
Note: Figures are based on sales generated in calendar 2011 or—for corporations with a fiscal year—from fiscal 2011. Data are from publicly available sources and include sales of books, journals, and digital products. Because publishing data were unavailable, Pannini and Disney/Hyperion are excluded from the rankings. The listing and publisher profiles were compiled by international publishing consultant Rudiger Wischenbart under the aegis of Livres Hebdo.