Boosts within its TV and Family businesses helped global independent studio Entertainment One (eOne) see its revenue rise 35% in fiscal 2017 to the tune of US$1.4 billion.
For the full-year period ended March 31, the company’s Family business clocked US$115.3 million in sales, driven by the continued strong performance of Peppa Pig, as well as growth from PJ Masks (pictured). Season two of PJ Masks is currently in production with France’s Frog Box and is set to be completed next fall.
Overall, eOne Family generated US$1.5 billion of retail sales in full-year 2017 (a 25% year-over-year increase), and almost 800 new and renewed broadcast and licensing agreements were concluded in the year.
Peppa Pig continued to grow with total retail sales of US$1.2 billion (up from US$1.1 billion in 2016) and licensing and merchandising revenue of US$59.3 million. The strong performance was driven by growth in the US, where L&M revenue increased by more than 170%. In fact, the US is now the number-one licensing territory for UK-originating Peppa Pig. This success is backed up by strong broadcast support from Nick Jr,, where it remains a top-rated show among preschoolers.
PJ Masks, meanwhile, was a key driver of growth for the business in 2017, with revenue increasing more than 500% year-on-year from US$2.9 million to US$17.5 million.
Looking ahead to 2018, revenue and EBITDA are expected to grow significantly for both Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, but underlying EBITDA margins for Family are anticipated to decline in percentage terms. This is due to increased contribution from PJ Masks, which accrues a higher level of third-party participation royalties than Peppa Pig, as well as an increased investment in overhead of around US$2.6 million necessary to grow the sales platform in our various territories.
In looking at other company areas, eOne Television revenue increased to US$427 million, due to higher global sales of content and international distribution deals. All told, eOne acquired and produced 1,023 half hours of new programming in the year, compared to 998 half hours in the prior year.
eOne’s Film division also saw modest revenue growth in full-year 2017, up 7% to US$770 million. The growth was driven by higher production and international sales revenues as well a 50% increase in theatrical revenues, but offset by 22% decrease in home entertainment revenues.
While eOne only released 172 titles this year, compared to 210 last year, the films generated US$337 million at the box office, up from US$259 million in 2016.
In order to underpin future growth, the company plans to combine its Film and Television divisions into a single studio operation, which already led to the establishment of a combined global sales team last month.