In my previous post, I wrote about a technology platform that allows reference book publishers to transact in backlist content. Today, I present yet another strategy publishers can use to monetize content: thinking beyond the written word.
Let’s look at Thomas Nelson, Inc., the world’s largest Christian publisher and one of the largest trade publishers in the United States.
Thomas Nelson is a powerhouse in licensing for multiple technology platforms. The company provides multiple forms of inspirational content: Bibles, books, ebooks, journals, audio, video, and curricula. Currently, Thomas Nelson’s licensing division has over 5,000 active licensing contracts available in over 40 different formats, averaging over 750 newly-negotiated contracts each year. In addition, this division maintains active contracts in 73 languages.
As part of its initiative to leverage rights, Thomas Nelson offers multiple digital applications and mobile apps, each of which delivers inspirational content and managing their rights. Two particularly popular downloads this year were the app for Sarah Young’s platinum selling devotional, “Jesus Calling,” and the app for Max Lucado’s “Live Loved.”
Developing an app for a title is a significant investment of time and money, so it makes sense primarily for titles or authors with an established fan base or a wide audience. Some advantages: an app has a different price point than a book and reaches the user who is shopping on a digital device instead of a bookstore. The app might deliver the same content as the book, but packaged and presented differently. App content can also be delivered on a schedule: in the case of a devotional, the reader could receive a new piece of inspirational content every day or every week.
“Apps offer a new level of accessibility for this outstanding devotional content and we are thrilled to see the success of these apps,” said Laura Minchew, senior vice president and publisher of specialty products at Thomas Nelson. “I especially love the ease of sharing content via Facebook or Twitter and the immediate giftability of the apps.”
In conclusion, revenue derived from non-book rights are growing in their share of the overall industry. I have touched on 3 ways publishers are monetizing their content through creative rights management. And this is just the tip of the iceberg – we did not cover merchandising, film, or name and likeness licensing to name a few.