A License to Sell
In an era of integrated publishing and vertical marketing, notions of content and brand have become more fluid, able to morph into new forms that reflect the ways consumers now access and think about information. This trend is even apparent in the world of reprints and content licensing, where traditional concerns about rights and brand integrity run up against new opportunities for revenue generation.
In a Web-enabled world, publishers must be open to the reality of widespread content distribution and willing, in some cases, to loosen their grip on material in exchange for the revenue potential made possible by a global demand for good content.
“If content is behind a paid wall, it is not getting indexed by Google. So if you want customers to find your content through a search engine, which is the dominant paradigm right now, you need to free it up,” says Rich Pearson, vice president of marketing at Attributor, a company that tracks the unauthorized use of content online and provides a way for publishers to sell licenses for legal use of that material. “It’s getting out there anyway … . On average, what we’re finding is 20 copies [being reprinted elsewhere] for every article that our customers are publishing.”
It Pays to Be Proactive
Using Attributor, publishers can turn discovery of unauthorized use of content into a sales call. Content users who refuse to go legit may face legal proceedings; either way, the tracking service provides insight into how other parties are using content, allowing publishers to formulate a licensing strategy around niches proven to be in demand for reuse.
Being proactive in the repurposing game requires taking steps to make content reuse and licensing as easy as possible, both internally and for interested second parties.
Few, if any, companies have done more on this score than Meredith Corp., publisher of Better Homes and Gardens, Parenting, Family Circle and other well-known magazines. Meredith leverages its brand value to market content options customized to the needs of other publishers around the world.