A License to Sell
The company’s aggressive content licensing program grew out of an internal program that allowed the company’s 26 subscription magazines and 200 special-interest publications to make use of content that previously appeared in sister publications, after an appropriate embargo period.
Meredith’s Creative Library, begun in 2003, maintains more than 2.5 million digital images and articles, managed through a system that tracks usage and the rights attached to that usage. About 200,000 new assets are added to the library each year.
While making it easy to call up articles and check their status (materials are stored in Quark and InDesign and include an embedded graphic link to information on usability), the system is designed to prevent unauthorized use.
“If the contract with a photographer includes the right to use [an image] with other publications, then we can share. If it is limited to [Better Homes and Gardens, for example], then the library’s security mechanism does not allow us to use it,” says Creative Library Manager Patty Bellus.
Outside partners can view and download articles and photos through an international licensing program begun three years ago. Meredith currently maintains 20 relationships in 10 countries, and is adding six to nine new partners a year, according to Mike Lovell, director of Meredith International.
These outside partners include MSN.com and Yahoo.com, as well as several international editions of Meredith publications, including Better Homes and Gardens in China, India and Australia, Parents and Fitness in Indonesia, and Child in India, none of which are published directly by Meredith Corp.
“[These international editions] are localizing the content in a way that makes the end product true to what the brand is, but also relevant to the local audience,” Lovell says. For example, Better Homes and Gardens editors in China might supplement a licensed article about decorating a room with information about local furniture stores or a photo of a Chinese family. Or, a cooking section using previously published Better Homes and Gardens content might benefit from the inclusion of local recipes or information about regional ingredients.