Penguin Children's Books and BBC Worldwide have announced a joint publishing venture, which means BBC children's titles will have the benefit of Penguin's international publishing and distribution resources with immediate effect. The new venture will publish 60-80 titles a year under the imprint BBC Children's Books, part of the Penguin Group. The BBC Worldwide children's publishing team has moved to the Penguin offices and the list of publications, which includes Fimbles, Teletubbies and Bob the Builder titles, has been aligned with the marketing and distribution resources of the Penguin Group. The venture will be led by Sally Floyer, who expects an instant increase in activity thanks to the overseas Penguin network. She will combine the role with her position as managing director of Ladybird.
Penguin is no stranger to character publishing through its Ladybird and Frederick Warne imprints. New deals will be negotiated with Sally's team, which will also work closely with BBC Worldwide to look at the publishing opportunities of potential acquisitions. The new venture has a first-look agreement at new BBC properties.
Will this new venture sit happily alongside the Ladybird imprint, which is also a licensee? 'Yes,' says Sally. 'In terms of market facing, the BBC will open doors and vice versa. We will work transparently and in good faith to avoid potential conflict of interest.' Sally describes the arrangement as a strategic partnership and hints at the long term benefits of the publisher and the broadcaster working together and potential two-way traffic.
The Penguin marketing will help retailers get the most from books and associated merchandise. Sally says, 'Beatrix Potter said in 1904 that if people want the book they will want the toy and the slippers. The same holds true now.'
The deal makes Penguin the biggest character publisher in the UK.