Trading update for the year ended 31st March states underlying earnings in Family & Brands division up 25% over the year.
Peppa Pig’s popularity in China has helped lift revenues in the territory by 50%. The growth boosted by Peppa Pig was reported to be thanks to subscription video and over 70 live licensing and merchandising contracts.
The PJ Masks brand grew over 40% in the year and represented 37% of the division’s total revenues, compared to 57% for Peppa Pig.
For 2020, eOne is planning to roll out Ricky Zoom in the Chinese market in the spring and summer of 2019, with a launch in other territories over autumn and winter.
The company’s television arm had strong momentum in the year, with 20% higher content produced than the year before. A move towards production and away from third-party distribution, part of a restructuring plan to increase content ownership, resulted in “fewer, but more profitable films”. The company has increased its library of unique content, in order to remain competitive and address the decline of home media distribution, as consumers shift more toward streaming services.
However, the company added that the lower number of releases had resulted in lower revenues across the division, with the total of unique titles down on the previous year. This is expected to decline further as the company aims for around 35-40 unique titles per year going forward.
Overall, the company said its underlying performance for 2019 was in line with expectations, with its net debt at year-end around 1.8x its underlying EBITDA.