The Random House Group U.K. has launched a new business dedicated to leveraging its publishing titles across multiple platforms including TV, licensing, gaming and live events.
When you joined Random House, what were your first impressions of the company, its properties and its potential?
The Random House Group is comprised of five publishing companies (Cornerstone, Transworld, Vintage, Ebury and Random House Children's Publishing), each with its own distinct list of world-class authors. I was struck by the phenomenal breadth of content and the multitude of opportunities to develop Random House's authors' works beyond book publishing. The potential is huge, and working out where to start is an exciting challenge.
Explain the structure of Random House Enterprises.
Random House Enterprises is a new division, set up to pursue opportunities for Random House to extend its reach beyond publishing into areas including TV, film, merchandising, gaming, live events and sponsorship. RHE works with each of the Group's publishing companies to take authors and their works to a wider consumer audience through mutually beneficial partnerships.
What is the overall strategy for growth in brand licensing and consumer products?
With such a wealth of renowned content, RHE is able to play across the kids, brand and art licensing sectors, and will develop licensing programs that allow readers to expand their relationship with a well-loved author or book series, as well as increase awareness to a wider consumer audience. In the kid's space, RHE works closely with Random House Children's Screen Entertainment, a joint venture production company, which takes Random House books and their characters to television and movie screens.
Describe the core Random House properties that offer strong opportunities for growth and expansion.
There are a host of strong kid's properties that are being evaluated, including those within RHCSE, such as Wanda and the Alien. Based on the books by Sue Hendra, Wanda and the Alien explores the concepts of differences and sharing across the very different worlds of Wanda and her new best friend, an alien. In addition, RHE is looking at teen and adult-targeted books and authors and will soon be making announcements about the properties being developed.
What are Random House's plans/strategy in gaming and live events?
Gaming and live events are two important platforms through which RHE can develop brand extensions for its authors and their works. In many instances, the storytelling element of a game is as important as the interactive experience, and we see gaming as a natural extension to help people deepen the relationship they have with our books and characters. Digital transformation is a key strategy for Random House and, whether on a tablet, smartphone, via social media or the Internet, RHE will look to partner with companies that can tell compelling stories through a different medium than book publishing. In the live event space, we are first concentrating on bringing some of our biggest authors to a wider audience, and will then look at events that are book specific.
Where do you envision Random House's position in brand licensing in terms of growth and retail sales of licensed merchandise over the next several years?
RHE is currently in its infancy and, with the breadth of content and award-winning authors that reside in the company, there are great expectations for growth in the licensing space over the next few years. We look forward to building strategic relationships with both licensees and retailers as we announce new projects.
Jo Edwards, head of licensing, Random House Enterprises.
Edwards, previously spent 11 years as vice president, international consumer products, at Discovery Communications. She developed Discovery's international consumer products business across brand, character and art licenses in key sectors including toys, retail, clothing, electronics, live shows and exhibitions. As RHE's first head of licensing, Edwards reports to Nigel Waters, commercial director, The Random House Group.