Netflix has found a golden ticket in its recent acquisition of The Roald Dahl Story Company, the body that monetizes late “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” author Roald Dahl’s intellectual property.
TRDSC’s latest set of accounts are for the year ending Dec. 31, 2020 — nine months before the company was acquired by Netflix. The accounts, which were filed with Companies House on Dec. 2, show a turnover of £27.09 million ($36.7 million), up by almost £1.5 million ($2 million) over the previous year.
“The company exceeded the directors’ expectations in the year ended 31 December 2020, with revenue 13.2% ahead of budget,” TRDSC’s former directors Luke Kelly and Claire Wright wrote in their strategic report.
Following the Netflix sale, Kelly, who is Dahl’s grandson, and Wright, TRDSC’s finance and operations director, resigned as directors of the company. They were replaced by Reginald Thompson, an attorney for Netflix Studios, Stephen Zager, VP associate general counsel at Netflix, and Bernadette Hall, general manager at TRDSC.
According to the report, the turnover “represents royalty income receivable for the use and access of the company’s intellectual property,” which includes characters such as Willy Wonka and Matilda.
“The company’s areas of focus are TV, film, stage, publishing and licensing,” the report states. “New TV productions and feature films are important to introduce new generations to the stories of Roald Dahl.”
Warner Bros. is currently making a Willy Wonka origin story, titled “Wonka,” with Timothée Chalamet while “Matilda” is a long-running West End musical that has also been made into a Netflix film, due to be released in Dec. 2022.
“While the outbreak of Covid-19 during 2020 impacted some revenue streams due to operational issues and the enforced closure of theaters and cinemas, overall revenue increased, partially due to securing a new publishing contract with income receivable at the year end,” the report continues.
The report also seemed to refer to the Netflix deal (which will be reflected in the following year’s accounts) saying “a significant sale of rights to a production company” guarantees further receipts “which secures income for several periods.”
The company’s pre-tax profits amounted to £14.37 million ($19.5 million), enabling a dividend payment of £7.5 million ($10.1 million) to shareholders.
“Profit and loss reserves will be reinvested in the business to ensure long-term growth and increased value for shareholders,” the report states.
At the close of the accounts, TRDSC held £10.86 million ($14.7 million) in cash. A £1.9 million ($2.6 million) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan from the bank was repaid in February 2021.
The report also broke down its revenues by territory. In the U.K, turnover was up from £4.9 million ($6.6 million) in the year ending 2019 to £6.3 million ($8.5 million) in the year ending 2020, while turnover from the rest of the world (including the U.S.) fell marginally, from £20.79 million ($28.12) in the year ending 2019 to £20.76 million ($28.10) in the year ending 2020.
In the report, the directors say their medium-term objective is “to increase in-house expertise so that the company can maintain more control over products using its intellectual property. This strategy may include entering into co-productions, investing in new business ventures, and ensuring partnerships protect our IP rights.”