Revenue rose 1% at HarperCollins in the second quarter ended December 31, 2017, over the comparable period in 2016, while earnings increased 7%.
According to HC parent company News Corp, second quarter sales were $469 million, up from $466 million a year ago, while EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) increased to $80 million, from $75 million in last year’s second quarter.
The revenue increase benefited from an $8 million positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations. From an operating standpoint, adult sales in the quarter were roughly flat with a year ago, as good sales of a number of frontlist titles—including Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks and David Walliams’ Bad Dad—helped to offset strong sales posted by Settle for More by Megyn Kelly and J.D Vance's Hillbilly Elegy in last year's second period. Backlist sales in the children’s books division were up. Sales in the publisher's Christian publishing group were down, due largely to difficult comparisons to last year, when The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines was a big bestseller.
Slightly higher digital sales also contributed to the revenue increase as digital sales, driven by growth of downloadable audio, rose 2% in the quarter over the comparable period in fiscal 2017. Digital sales represented 16% of consumer sales in the just completed quarter, the same percentage as in the second quarter in fiscal 2017.
For the first half of fiscal 2018, which ends June 30, 2018, EBITDA was up 6% over the first six months of fiscal 2017, to $130 million, on a 2% sales gain to $870 million.