2016: A license to innovate

skills for publishing

This is a guest post from Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License, on rights and licensing in 2016.

The advent of any New Year tends to generate numerous calls to action from many sectors within the business world, so why should the publishing industry be any different?

2015 was, by and large, a positive year which saw some significant growth across many areas of the market. Looking forward, some of these sectors will be coming under increased pressure and the impact of such will provide plenty of interest within the industry and beyond.

We are certainly not immune from outside interference or economic influence in 2016 – as underlined by the recent warnings from Chancellor George Osborne that the UK faces a “dangerous cocktail” of new economic threats in 2016 – but a substantial amount of opportunities for growth remain. And none more so than in the field of rights and licensing.

There has long been a tradition of headline book to film deals, the Holy Grail for many authors, and publishing houses for that matter, and while these do still exist there has also been a slight shift within this type of entertainment medium.

TV budgets have grown. More channels are emerging and when combined with the rise of streaming services creating their own content the demand for good quality subject matter is more apparent than ever. Established titles such as the widely acclaimed BBC dramatisation of War and Peace, plus newer material such as the Behind the Mask memoir by Killing Kittens sex club founder Emma Sayle (reportedly snapped up by Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment for development as a TV series) continue to demonstrate this rising demand.

However, it’s not just the big ticket deals which continue to generate interest, and importantly revenue, for an array of publishers. Areas such as audio and large print are providing escalating levels of income. Permissions is another area which often goes under the radar whilst generating vast amounts of business and works in translation is certainly an area to watch in the year ahead and beyond.

There is also much still to be learned from other sectors to help the licensing sector grow within publishing. The gaming industry has already shown that licensing can take many forms, from single global licences to multi-territory deals, anything is possible. The ease of doing business within this sector has played a big part in the progression of games industries worldwide and this is certainly one element that we should look to embrace.

Ease of access to the right content and the ability to interact with relevant rights holders from all over the world will be key to ensuring we maintain forward momentum throughout this sector. And, here at IPR License, we will continue being at the forefront of rights and licensing innovation in 2016.