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The week in charts: Nvidia hits $1tn, Bloomsbury’s book-sale boost and CBI faces vote of confidence

The data behind the biggest business stories of the week, from one microchip company’s entry to the exclusive trillion-dollar club to one CEO’s claim that books are more popular than Netflix
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People are swapping streaming for books, says Bloomsbury CEO

Bloomsbury, the publisher of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, has recorded a 15% increase in sales to £264.1m, including 9% before the acquisitions of new businesses, as well as a 14% hike in pre-tax profits to £25.4m for the year to 28 February.

Books, according to its chief executive Nigel Newton, represent an affordable alternative to other forms of entertainment, such as digital streaming. “A paperback is much cheaper than even a one-month subscription to many services,” he told the Financial Times. Referencing the £15.99 monthly charge for Netflix Premium, Newton added: “You get two books every month for this money, and you get 24 books a year. You’d never have a moment left.”

A study by The Publishers Association, a membership body, found that sales of physical books have exceeded the rates of subscriptions to video-on-demand services in the UK consistently since 2017.

CBI faces fight for survival

The future of the CBI hangs in the balance as it approaches next week’s emergency general meeting.

The business group has seen an exodus of members since allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape, surfaced in April and was forced to suspend its operations as the law firm Fox Williams conducted an independent investigation. 

Its recently appointed director general Rain Newton-Smith hopes that her “programme of change” – which has included appointing an interim chief people officer, refreshing its board and enlisting an external Culture Advisory Committee – will be enough to convince remaining members that it has reformed its operations.

The answer will be revealed on Tuesday next week, when its membership will be asked to vote on a single confidence motion – the result of which will determine whether the self-styled “voice of business” will continue or be silenced.

Nvidia hits $1tn valuation

Chipmaker Nvidia fleetingly joined an elite group of $1tn-valued companies as its shares rose 7.7% during trading on Tuesday morning. The company’s powerful GPUs (graphics processing unit) have surged in popularity as businesses seek greater computational capability to power the latest generation of AI products. 

Only eight other businesses have reached the $1tn milestone so far, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet.

Investor interest in the firm was buoyed by announcements from the chip group’s CEO Jensen Huang at the Computex conference in Taipei, including a partnership with advertising group WPP and the launch of a new AI supercomputer platform. However, Nvidia’s time at the top was only temporary as its share price closed below the threshold. 

As demand for AI systems continues to grow, Nvidia has positioned itself well to capitalise on the technology’s ascendancy.

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