A License to Sell
To enforce brand integrity, Meredith does sales and editorial training with new publishing partners, maintains regular contact with editors, sees advance copies of the first few issues, and has access to forthcoming covers and tables of contents after that. The company reserves the right to cancel any agreement if a publication proves to be inconsistent with the brand.
“There is frankly nothing we care more about than the integrity of the brand,” Lovell says. “We want to make sure that whatever publisher we are partnering with has a very strong passion for the brand. They need to believe it works for their market.”
Closer to home, Meredith makes extensive use of its content library for its special-interest magazines. Magazines such as Window and Wall Ideas and Paint Décor use content from bigger subscription magazines such as Family Circle, Renovation Style and Midwest Living.
Internal use of content is facilitated by a comprehensive digital asset management system, provided by Artesia, designed to identify revenue streams and streamline content repurposing. The company has benefited from training managers in departments outside of the digital library to use the system, according to Bellus.
“That’s kind of the mind-set the company has—[to] pay for the content once and find lots of additional ways to make revenue off [of] it,” Lovell notes. “Content licensing is just taking that idea one step further. The platform does not matter.”
Take Control of Your Content
However content is used, Lovell advises that tracking usage rights is central to an effective strategy.
“The most important thing about the content business is understanding what your rights situation is around the content,” he says. “Depending on who the creator is, that company may or may not have the right to use it in another way.”
Bellus says she checks frequently with the legal department to ensure appropriate use of articles and photos.