Bookwire Has an Audiobook Deal With France’s Banijay

In News by Porter Anderson

Based in Frankfurt, Bookwire’s expansion into the French market includes audiobook production and distribution work with Banijay.

On a tram in Mulhouse, in Haut-Rhin, near France’s German and Swiss borders. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Neydtstock

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Gonet: ‘From Production to Distribution to Marketing’
Following its presentation of last week’s “All About Audio” conference for the French market, the German digital content distributor Bookwire GmbH—founded in 2010 by Jens Klingelhöfer and John Ruhrmann—today (November 29) has announced a production and distribution agreement with France’s Banijay Kids & Family, which describes itself as “the dedicated production, distribution, and sales division” of Banijay, a children’s entertainment company.

At its broadest, the Banijay Group’s brands are based in television and film production companies, and they include Peaky Blinders, Survivor, Big Brother and more. It’s a company opened in 2008 with Marco Bassetti as its CEO.

Bookwire’s media messaging says that its role is to produce and distribute audiobook tie-ins, “audiobook based on a selection of the latter’s intellectual properties.” This brings into play Bookwire’s “WAY” service—”We Audiobook You”—which you’ll recall announced in June that it was offering automated text-to-speech technology as one of its audiobook production services. Bookwire is then to offer that audio content to platforms, including those of libraries and music-streaming companies.

Titles anticipated for this arrangement, Bookwire reports, include:

  • When I Was Your Age
  • Street Football
  • Lolirock
  • The Unstoppable Yellow Yeti
  • Silverpoint
  • Totally Spies
  • The Ranch (series)
  • Martin Mystery (series)

Production is to be made in French early in 2023, with the audiobooks being made and distributed internationally in several languages by Bookwire.

Bizet: ‘An Experienced Audiobook Partner’

The work for Banijay will be led by Anne-Laure Gonet, Bookwire’s country manager in France who spoke in last week’s online event.

Anne-Laure Gonet

In a prepared statement for today’s announcement, Gonet is quoted, saying, “Our services, including WAY production solution and the Bookwire OS,” a publishing software offer opened by Bookwire in 2019, “have become the global market standard over the last few years, thanks to the great commitment of our team and consistent investments.

“Our ambition in France is to open up new audio opportunities for all publishers in the market. We offer a full 360-degree audio service from production to distribution, to marketing, therefore enabling each publisher to launch and distribute its own audio titles.”

Annick Bizet

Speaking for Banijay, Annick Bizet at Zodiak Kids Studios in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Zodiak’s parent is the Banijay Group), is quoted, saying, “We were looking for an experienced audiobook partner with a proven international distribution track record.

“Bookwire understands our need for high-quality audiobook production, as well as our strong international ambition.”

Bizet, whose role is to direct new business and strategic alliances at Banijay, speaks of the goals of the arrangement as being “to expand the popularity of our series in audiobook format and bring them to fans and new global audiences.”

Bookwire opened its office in Paris in July 2021, with the stated intention of building its international reach “and to offer the French publishers a personalized accompaniment and powerful tool to launch themselves on the growing French audiobook market. The Bookwire OS allows publishers to gain autonomy, flexibility and performance.

Bookwire has been building partnerships with major French publishers [including] L’École des Loisirs, Fleurus, La Martinière Jeunesse, and Elidia. The next step is to reach players outside the publishing world like audiovisual producers and audio production studios that are creating their own labels.”

John Ruhrmann

Bookwire in August announced a reorganization of its unit for audiobooks and podcasting, Ruhrmann at the time talking of the intent being to “optimally support our publishing and shop partners in their growth and their ambitions with solutions in the areas of distribution, production, and marketing.”

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, France, once seen by many as a market deeply resistant to digital-publishing developments, is this year seeing a series of efforts on the part of its publishers association, the Syndicat national de l’édition (SNE), to cultivate awareness and adoption of audiobooks. The opening salvo of this program was the association’s declaration of May as Mois du livre audio, or “Audio Book Month” in France.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the French market is here, more on digital publishing is here, more on audiobooks is here, and more on Bookwire is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.