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Print licensing: 5 minutes with… Rachel Shaw

Many independent publishers publish content once and then move on, seemingly unaware of the opportunities for that content to earn additional revenue through licensing. We grab five minutes with Marketforce’s Rachel Shaw to explore the opportunity.

By Rachel Shaw

Print licensing: 5 minutes with… Rachel Shaw

Q: For independent publishers, where does the licensing opportunity lie?

A: Syndication – where content is sold to be reused by another party. It’s a great opportunity for independent publishers to showcase their best content to like-minded partners worldwide, reaching a new audience internationally. There are no limits as this could be anything from one image to 100 pages, generating revenue that can help towards creating content and running their titles. Independent publishers can leverage the processes and contacts of a larger business by working in partnership, therefore having the freedom to focus on their brand and content whilst the commercial and administrative side is managed for them.

Q: What trends are you seeing in content licensing?

A: We’re continuing to see growth in bookazines, as well as syndication, and what’s great about both of these areas is that they can quickly pivot to capitalise on trends in the market. For example, creating content around air fryers or the hottest celebrities right now such as Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. Pleasingly, there’s now a level of stability in the licensing market and green shoots of opportunity are back. Examples of this are increased interest in Craft and Sport as these are areas where it can be expensive and difficult to create your own content.

Q: What types of content are particularly in demand?

A: Some of the content areas that are always in demand are:

  1. Expert, informative and passionate editorial alongside fabulous photography. A good example of this is in the Home Interest and Educational market, where it can be expensive to create content and access to homes, products and experts can be limited.
  2. Content that cannot be easily replicated, or is unique.
  3. Evergreen content works incredibly well as it doesn’t date, meaning it’s great for international markets.

The combination of the above factors can also lead to a premium rate being charged for licensing.

Q: Do you have any examples of particularly innovative content licensing deals?

A: We are passionate advocates that just because content initially appeared in print doesn’t mean it has to be used the same way! We are working with a Chinese partner to create educational apps using content from our title How It Works – converting print content for a whole new audience. We also work with book publishers who create beautiful publications through syndicating our print content or converting our bookazines. This is innovative repackaging of content that leads to a whole new source of revenue via a different market.

Q: What is the secret of success when it comes to content licensing?

A: Several ingredients help to create the best recipe, such as world leading content that is available for reuse alongside an expert team delivering a bespoke service to each partner. Ensuring you’re able to capitalise on trends in the market and global events, pivoting quickly, and dedication to exploiting every opportunity that arises helps to create a successful licensing revenue stream.

Q: In the publisher / distributor relationship, what can publishers do to optimise their licensing revenues?

A: You can’t sell what you don’t own, so I would urge publishers to ensure they own their IP wherever possible as this means there are opportunities outside of the initial content use and lengthens the lifecycle of the content, therefore maximising revenue potential.

I would also recommend embracing content sharing. There can be natural concerns around competitors and being protective of content which are valid, however licensing content internationally rarely impacts the parent edition and can actually help to strengthen the reach and impact of a brand.

Q: What’s in the pipeline from the Print Licensing team at Marketforce?

A: We are focused on diversifying our revenue stream by opening up licensing opportunities to Marketforce. At a time when costs are increasing across the global supply chain, print licensing opens up a new exciting revenue stream for those publishers who have not explored the opportunity before. We have access to hundreds of business partners actively seeking content and with our dynamic and forward thinking team we are helping publishers build audiences and new commercial relationships around the world.

We are also focused on being innovative in how we license our print content outside of the publishing world. Diversifying our revenue mix to ensure we maintain our strong position in this climate is our main focus, alongside continuing to deliver the best service to our partners.

About us

With more than 30 years of experience, Marketforce leads the way in global sales, marketing and distribution for a wide range of publishing and media businesses. Owned by Future PLC, we are backed by one of Europe’s largest and fastest-growing media companies.

We are the #1 independent publisher newsstand distributor. Distribution is our core service, but our focus is also on helping publishers build their businesses through adding value. We aid product development, help determine optimal pricing and deliver customer marketing for brands that grows sales. If you would like to hear why more publishers are choosing Marketforce, call us for a chat about getting the distribution you need.



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