Digital and emerging market boost for Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press (OUP) reported another year of increased sales, strong growth in emerging markets and further development of its digital business in its 2012/13 Annual Report, which was published today.

In emerging markets, sales increased by 12%, while a series of new online products and services helped to extend OUP's digital presence. Digital now represents 56% of scholarly and professional, and 19% of overall sales.

As a department of the University of Oxford, OUP furthers its mission of excellence in education, scholarship and research by publishing worldwide. Examples of ways in which it achieved this during the year included:

  • Growth in emerging markets: an increase in sales for both educational and academic resources in many developing economies. Demand was particularly high in the English language teaching sector, with growth in Asia, South America and the Middle East.
  • Digital products and services: a series of high-profile new online products for academics, including Oxford Handbooks Online, which enables OUP to publish individual chapters online ahead of print publication, and Oxford Scholarly Editions Online, a new resource for scholars looking to access authoritative editions of key texts. Digital accomplishments in the education sector included the Oxford Test of English, a new online assessment service endorsed by the University's Department for Continuing Education, and further development of award-winning read-at-home website Oxford Owl.   
  • Demand for educational resources: OUP provides educational materials for millions of students in more than 200 countries. Curriculum reform in South Africa resulted in high adoption levels of newly published resources, and Oxford's primary literacy range performed well in the UK, thanks in part to a government-matched funding initiative. There was a further increase in demand for professional development and assessment services alongside classroom materials.
  • Reference publishing strength: underwent a series of improvements aimed at growing its presence in the free online dictionary space. Mobile dictionary applications were launched for English language learners, and the Oxford Children's Dictionaries print range was successfully relaunched.   
  • Growth in journals publishing: the Oxford Journals list increased to more than 300 titles in total, two-thirds of which are publishing in partnership with learned societies and many have open-access publishing models. All journals content is hosted on a mobile-optimized online platform and more than one billion individual articles have been downloaded since the online service was launched.

OUP also acquired Nelson Thornes in January 2013, a leading educational publisher with a range of primary, secondary and vocational resources which complement OUP's own titles in the UK and internationally. The acquisition was cleared by the Office of Fair Trading in May 2013.

Organic sales growth was 4.4%, with a total turnover of £759 million in the year to end of March 2013. A successful sales year combined with effective cost management led to a surplus of £121 million. OUP's financial success enables it to support a range of important educational and research activities at the University of Oxford, and this year it transferred £50 million to the wider University.

Nigel Portwood, Chief Executive of OUP, said: 'We faced a number of challenges this year, but ultimately we achieved a lot that we can be proud of. As always, we published materials of the highest quality, and our continued progress in emerging markets and digital publishing is testament to our ability to respond to changes and opportunities in our industry. For many millions of people around the world, "Oxford" resources stand for high-quality education and access to leading research, and I’m pleased that we continue to live up to those expectations.'