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Royalty Management
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3 Strategies for Content Monetization: Part 2 of 3

In my last post about content monetization for book publishers, I introduced the strategy of “chunking” in which a publisher takes its licensed content and breaks it up into resellable, reusable pieces.

Today I examine the model of Credo Reference, a technology and reference firm that has successfully monetized high quality third party content from disparate sources.

Credo Reference has built a successful business around licensing chunks of content from reference book publishers. “The Credo platform takes authoritative, credible content from the top reference publishers in the industry, deconstructs that content into its most usable chunks and then reassembles the chunks into one grand online encyclopedia that is tightly coupled to the resources of the library both inside and outside the firewall,” Credo Reference president John Dove told the Charleston Advisor in January. “This is a re-emergence of the core value of reference content: providing context and vocabulary to those just starting out in a field of study or taking on an inquiry into otherwise unfamiliar territory.”

Let’s say that a user goes to Credo in search of information on the artist Georgia O’Keefe. Credo’s topic page on O’Keefe contains reference entries assembled from more than 80 best-in-class reference publishers. The entries are linked to other material including library databases, journal articles, images, and video both inside and outside the library. “Each reference entry is like a launch-pad to further information of value to the curious mind,” Dove explained.

Credo showcases the possibilities for content reuse and careful management of rights.

And that is a critical point. To monetize your rights, you must carefully manage them.

As someone who works deeply in these rights management areas, I have three pieces of advice for publishers who build revenue through secondary rights transactions:

• Invest in a rights management system to keep track of to whom you’ve licensed content, and for what purpose, so you can make sure that you get paid. A surprising number of publishers have told us that they do not readily have a grasp on what is due them and what they’ve licensed. To do this, you need to have your agreements stored as data, which you can then run queries on (e.g. to see who has not paid).

• Regarding any author’s work, know your rights. Content reuse and chunking relies on owning the appropriate digital rights and having a way to pay the appropriate royalties to each of the authors for whom content has been licensed. A contract management and royalty management system is the only reliable way to manage this.

• Get the cost of managing rights down to a minimum. Make the process as efficient as possible. The better the process, the more content available for profitable licensing. Again, a robust rights management and royalty management tool are critical for achieving this.

In the next installment we will look at some ways content is being monetized beyond the written word.

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MetaComet Systems, Inc., Computer Software Publishers & Developers, South Hadley, MA

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