The border busting reality of digital publishing has radically altered the traditional licensing model. But opportunities still abound to leverage your brand in overseas markets. Peter Houston reports.
Ah magazine revenues. How do I diversify thee, let me count the ways.
With apologies to Elizabeth Barret Browning… let’s not.
The list of revenue diversification strategies being tried by modern magazine publishers is very long and occasionally very strange. Suffice to say, if there’s the slimmest chance something will add to the bottom line, someone, somewhere is trying it. Lean pork sausages from Men’s Health anyone?
From marketing services to masterclasses, archive subscriptions to activity holidays, publishers are happy to give it a go. And the once predictable world of licensing your publication’s reputation and audience reach hasn’t stayed immune to the frantic hunt for incremental revenue.
In the mythical good old days of magazine publishing, licensing was a steady revenue stream for many publishers, big and small. And way back when – maybe a decade ago – the model was simpler.
You took your content, bundled it with some brand guidelines, sold it to someone in a far-off land then collected a license feel or royalty on every edition they printed. Do that in a dozen territories and you had yourself a nice little earner.
And then came digital. More specifically, social media.
While the development of zero-cost global distribution didn’t kill the traditional magazine licensing model, it complicated it immeasurably. And border-less social sharing just upped the ante.