Monday, April 12, 2010

BBC may sell off some of its magazines,
partner on others

BBC Worldwide is undertaking a shakeup of its multi-title magazine division and is considering selling Radio Times magazine. According to a story in the Times newspaper, BBC Worldwide is considering entering into a licensing arrangement or partnership with a rival publisher for many or all of its 50 titles, maintaining editorial control and the vaunted BBC standards while enabling the organization's portfolio to be more profitable. 
Worldwide’s magazines division made a profit of £11.5 million last year on sales of £182 million. Sources close to the company, whose titles include Top Gear, Doctor Who and Gardeners’ World, said that the tie-up would create a “mixed portfolio” in which the some magazines would be sold while others would be licensed to the new partner to publish.
The source said: “It can’t just be about flogging off the company because a lot of the magazines are BBC-branded and programme-branded and a huge part of their value is their relationship with the BBC. It’s not straightforward and it’s not going to be the same structure for all of them. There are some titles that could be sold, some parts need to remain close to the BBC.”
BBC is Britain's fourth biggest consumer magazine publisher, selling 85 million copies a year. According to a separate Times story, Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC Trust, last November ordered the magazine division to halt acquisitions. Cash raised from any sale or licensing of magazines could be used to help buy out Virgin Media from the joint venture UKTV, the story said.

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