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Seven things we learned at our Rights Dinner
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Posted by IPG
Rights2’s Clare Hodder and Ruth Tellis brought IPG members up to date with trends in translations licensing at our first-ever Rights Dinner in November. Here are some of the key messages

1 It’s getting harder to acquire sub-rights from agents

With agents increasingly seeking to sell international rights for key assets on their own, publishers may find it hard to secure subsidiary rights unless they can demonstrate they can do a good job of selling them. When you can secure the rights, big deals are getting bigger, but small deals are getting smaller—people are willing to pay serious money for big-name authors, but for more niche deals the value is reducing.

2 UK academic and professional publishers continue to have global appeal

Business books remain of huge interest, and Artificial Intelligence was a hot topic at the Frankfurt Book Fair. There are lots of opportunities for repackaging and repurposing content, so look beyond traditional publishers in some markets. Possibilities include direct deals with content producers to provide video or web content, and bundle deals with packagers of content for things like travel entertainment systems.

3 China is booming, Latin America is struggling

Despite some problems with censorship, rights business continues to boom in China, and Beijing may now be the world’s most important rights fair after Frankfurt for many publishers. But other regions, notably Latin America, are proving tougher for rights sales. Elsewhere, the Italian and Spanish markets are starting to recover after a difficult few years.

4 The digital rights market is maturing

After several years of rapid growth, the market for ebooks has stabilised—but many publishers still withhold electronic rights unless they are assured of specific exploitation plans by translators. By contrast, audio sales are soaring—though payment models through intermediaries vary, so publishers need to be clear about the terms of their agreements and payment schedules.

5 Opportunities to licence beyond the book are growing

Publishers have more content to licence than some realise—like cover art, supplementary material and concept design—and opportunities for licensing rights in content around the book, rather than the interior text itself, will continue to grow. Remember that parts of text can be licensed as well as the whole, so consider granting permissions as well as licensing whole book rights; PLS Permissions has a suite of services to support in this area.

6 Use of technology in rights is increasing

Social media platforms can be good places to showcase work to other publishers, but care needs to be taken with privacy settings to ensure the right messages get to the right audience. Services designed to automate rights licensing are starting to emerge, though with markets continually waxing and waning in an industry which is so heavily reliant on personal relationships, you need to carefully evaluate the benefits for your business before determining whether automation is right for you.

7 Understanding the impact of rights licensing will boost profit

It is worth reviewing the current scale and potential of rights licensing in your business, because if it is appropriately accounted rights income can contribute significantly to the bottom line. Understanding the impact of your rights business, identifying the opportunities to develop it and increasing the visibility of its contribution to your business can be made infinitely easier by the adoption of a good rights system. RightsZone, a brand new workflow tool developed by Rights2 with Ribbonfish, both IPG members, is a ready-made solution for publishers seeking to do just that.
Rights2 offers IPG members discounts on two services: a Foundations Package for publishers who want to understand the rights potential of their business, and a training series providing an introduction to rights. IPG members get an exclusive discount of £300 on the Foundations Package to £1,950; and £25 off the first training event (Introduction to Copyright) to £125 if booked before 24 December. Learn more about the Foundations package here and the training offer here. Contact Ruth or Clare at Rights2 if you would like to take advantage of the offers.

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