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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just What Is 'Content Licensing' ?

Guess what? Nobody knows exactly what the hell 'content licensing' is.

Like many things in the new, much uncharted, digital publishing universe ... the general concept is still in flux; but, getting it's focus little by little.

Content licensing implies monetizing written content in some way. And this is important for publishers to get right (after all it is money!). Exactly what is it, what and how to charge for it, how to police the contracted content for abuse, etc., etc., etc.

This insight from Stefanie Botelho in the Login section of FOLIO magazine:

Content Licensing: Making It Work for You

Publishers on creating an additional revenue stream, managing pricing and more

The term “content licensing” is an ambiguous one, especially among publishers. Some consider reprints and e-prints to be a full-fledged content licensing operation; while others leasing out logos and awards for third-party use count it as their content licensing service. Still others have moved custom publishing under the umbrella term of “content licensing”, with syndication often finding itself in this category as well.

Brian Kolb, vice president of Wright’s Media (which works with publishers like Forbes, LAPTOP Magazine and FOLIO: on content licensing deals) says, “We started doing this five years ago, which was the paradigm shift where many of the advertisers were gaining the content they wanted to use for free, like accolades, pull quotes, etc. In order to make up for the lost revenue from e-prints and reprints, we had publishers understand that shift and monetize the access they were giving away for free.”

For publishers who choose to monetize their property beyond advertising and subscriptions, vetting appropriate partners, managing the business and monitoring client contracts can equate to a full-time job. For what can seem like an overwhelming task, deciding which content to barter with may be the first step for companies considering a move into the content licensing business.

Offering the Best, Partnering with the Best

At Northstar Travel Media (NTM), VP of business development and licensing Sheila Rice says the publisher’s wealth of data drives its content licensing business. NTM’s central database includes 70,000 geographic places, 160,000 hotels, 54,000 hotel ratings, 900 convention centers, 30 million news alerts sent annually and a plethora of additional data (including visitor bureaus, cruise lines, ships and more).

“With the raw hotel data, I license it for public view and public use on large travel sites or OTA’s. My partners have the ability to choose the look and feel of how they present their data on their website because they have it in a raw format,” says Rice.

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