Harry Potter and the Magical Revenue Stream

Nic Crowther
Thu 09 Jun

Have you ever though that your amazing product might be adaptable for a new market? Even some of the biggest brands in the world are diversifying their IP in order to secure new revenues through strategies that can run for decades.

This week, excited young wizards and worn-down parents turned up to London’s Palace Theatre for previews of the stageplay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The eighth instalment of the saga is just one part of a push to explore other opportunities for the Harry Potter franchise, and there is also planning in place for an international chain of amusement parks based on Harry and his Hogwarts experience.



Publishing revenues

Such was the success of the books – over 400 million copies across the series have been sold – that it’s hard to imagine there are any households left that might want to shell out for the total six-book set.

A quick search of Amazon UK shows plenty of new copies available for less than AU$10.00. Meanwhile, the online portal for Australian publishers, Allen & Unwin, prices start around $17.00.

Put on top of that the collapse of local book store, and there is little opportunity for Ms Rowling and her publishers, Bloomsbury, to realise much more revenue from the existing publications.



Looking to other successes

Since its Broadway debut in 1997, Disney’s The Lion King has become one of the most successful stage plays of all time. Forget The Mousetrap, forget Les Mis and forget the forgettable CatsThe Lion King is eating them all for dinner.

Around the world there are some 22 productions in operation that continue to sell out shows and generate huge revenue for the show’s producers.


The Lion King follows the strong branding of other stage plays such as Cats and Phantom of the Opera 


Creating a new product

This might be part of the strategy to release the nest part of Harry’s story as a stage play. Seats at the theatre area limited commodity, and create their own kind of demand with associated hype. Over the years, the Harry Potter franchise has made a lot of money out of hype.

If you needed further proof that the team know how to flog the horse, much like the film versions of the final book in the series, this theatre experience has been divided into two parts.

It’s a daring marketing ploy to automatically double the revenue of the product. But, hey! Don’t be too cynical! The production’s website states that, “because of the epic nature of the story it could not fit into the performance time of a traditional single play.”




Rivers of gold

The upshot of this is that instead of a family buying one book and sharing it around, those who can afford it (or succumb to constant nagging) will spend up to AU$250.00 PER PERSON to see both parts of the show. Sure, there are cheaper tickets but they are limited in number and view.

By anyone’s measure that is a massive outlay for a parent and just one child to experience the next instalment of Harry Potter. However, The Lion King has been seen by around 80 million people. Even if The Cursed Child is half as successful, we’re talking about potential revenues in the vicinity of $10 billion dollars over the next decade or two.



Getting back to basics

Who knows? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may be released in book form somewhere down the track. Given the story takes place 19 years after Book Seven, there is plenty of time to develop other products to fill in the gaps and keep the dollars rolling in.

Between now and then you can guarantee the producers will be working hard to put millions of bums on seats. For JK Rowling and Harry Potter, there’s plenty of magic left.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens in London on Saturday 30 July