Commercial Publisher Financial Results

Read about the  financial results of two large commercial publishers.  Even in a global financial crisis, they are doing quite well for themselves.

Reed Elsevier announced it’s 2009 financial results.  Here’s an excerpt from the press release (thanks to DigitalKoans for the links and synposis)

Elsevier (44% of adjusted operating profits)

  • Revenue growth +4%, adjusted operating profit +9%, at constant currency
  • Strong growth in electronic clinical reference, clinical decision support and nursing and health professional education; continued weakness in pharma promotion
  • Solid science journal subscription renewals from 2008 supported 2009 revenue growth

Read more about it at “Robust Year for Reed Elsevier” (


The legal wing LexisNexis, which makes up 42% of adjusted operating profits for the group, saw sales grow 14%, and adjusted operating profit rise 13%, at constant currency. Reed said its core law firm markets were flat in US and marginally lower internationally reflecting a downturn in legal services industry.

The publishing arm of Reed Elsevier has had a “relatively robust year” in light of the economic downturn, thanks to good subscription renewal rates among its journals and strong e-book sales, the company has claimed.

The company saw revenue growth climb 14%, as did adjusted operating profit, and cashflow grew 11%. However reported operating profit declined 13%.

Elsevier, which contains the science publishing divisions and accounts for 44% of adjusted profits for the entire group, saw sales grow 4%, while profit increased 9%.

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. annouced it’s 2009 results (which are now no longer on Wiley’s website), but DigitalKoans sums it up well in his blog post, where he provides excerpts from a press release.


  • Full year revenue +9% and fourth quarter revenue +17% on currency neutral basis (a nonrecurring acquisition accounting adjustment reported in fiscal year 2008 contributed 2% to the full year growth rate)
  • Full year contribution to profit +14% and fourth quarter contribution to profit +22% on a currency neutral basis
  • New contracts in fiscal year 2009 to publish 32 society journals; renewed or extended contracts for 87 journals; did not renew agreements to publish 9 journals

Global STMS revenue for fiscal year 2009 declined 1% to $969 million due to unfavorable foreign exchange of $97 million. Revenue advanced 9% on a currency neutral basis and including a $17 million acquisition accounting adjustment, which reduced revenue in fiscal year 2008. Increased revenue from journal subscription renewals, new business, global rights, and STMS books was partially offset by lower sales of backfiles, reprints, and custom publishing.

Direct contribution to profit for the fiscal year grew 4% from prior year to $399 million. On a currency neutral basis, contribution to profit advanced 14%. The year-over-year increase reflects top-line results and a $17 million accounting adjustment related to the Blackwell acquisition that reduced revenue in the comparable prior year period, partially offset by higher editorial fees due to the addition of more society journals and performance-related compensation.

For the fourth quarter, global STMS revenue was down 2% with a negative foreign exchange effect of $54 million. On a currency neutral basis, revenue advanced 17% due to the resolution of the third quarter journal billing delays, which shifted some revenue into the fourth quarter. Revenue also advanced due to new business. Higher global rights income was offset by lower backfile sales and advertising revenue. Direct contribution to profit for the quarter increased 3%, or 22% excluding the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange, mainly due to top line results.

STMS Journals
All regions exhibited journal sales growth, excluding unfavorable foreign exchange. The performance is mainly attributed to renewals, new business, and the acquisition accounting adjustment in fiscal year 2008. Subscription and pay-per-view revenue was up year-over-year, while backfile revenue fell due to the economic climate, particularly in the US. . . .

Journal Licenses
Journal licenses, which represent approximately 60% of our journal subscription revenue, provide academic, government, and corporate customers with online access to multiple journals. In the fourth quarter, agreements were signed or renewed with universities, library consortia, and government agencies in the US, Norway, Japan, China, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Chile, Denmark, and India.

STMS Books and References
Book sales and other related income, which account for approximately 17% of STMS revenue, were up 5% over fiscal year 2008 on a currency neutral basis. The total number of books published was up slightly. Online book sales rose approximately 20% to $10 million.

And Wiley’s 3rd quarter fiscal year 2010 results show that Wiley STM profit rates are up 18% to $89 million (for one quarter!), for a profit rate of 39%. Wiley is outsourcing – so these profits are accompanied by job losses in the U.S (from Heather Morrison).


“Global STMS revenue for the third quarter of fiscal year 2010 rose 13% to $228 million”

“Direct contribution to profit for the third quarter increased 18% to $89 million”