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Industry Roundup: Rights and Royalty Management Related News

Below is a roundup of recent news items related to the world of royalties and rights management.

Aptara Releases Third Annual ebook Survey of Publishers

Apatara, a digital content development company, recently released its third annual ebook survey detailing business trends from 2009-2011. Representing more than 1,300 book publishers from the trade, education, corporate, and professional markets, the report addresses preferred formats, specific production approaches, the most lucrative distribution channels, and preferred devices and platforms. According to the report, ebook sales rose 40% in 2010, yet the research reveals plenty of room for growth in this immature market. For example, the report finds that two out of three ebook publishers have not yet converted their backlist titles. This signals a promising new revenue opportunity for publishers, particularly those with robust royalty and rights management systems in place, since backlist titles earn higher profits than frontlist titles.

Other significant findings from the report:

  • Trade publishers have adopted the ebook format faster than other publishers over the past three years;
  • The vast majority of book publishers (85%), across all market segments, are producing both print and ebook versions of their titles;
  • Customer demand for ebooks is growing, suggesting that the market has moved beyond early adopters and into the mainstream;
  • One out of five ebook publishers generates more than 10% of their revenues from ebooks;
  • Amazon still dominates ebook distribution but their lead is steadily decreasing;
  • Publishers’ own e-commerce sites generate the highest percentage of ebook sales for all publishing market segments except trade.

The full report can be found at http://www.aptaracorp.com/home/survey.

Panel at Frankfurt Book Fair to Discuss Opportunities and Challenges of Licensing and Rights Management in the Multi-Platform Age

On October 11, 2011, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, a panel of children’s content creators and licensors will discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with global licensing rights and multi-platform products. The panel, entitled “Licensing into the Ether: Selling bits and bytes into a global market,” will address such issues as how licensors can meet the demand for dynamic, multi-media products when they already have legacy deals for other formats, and how can publishers and new content developers can reach mutually-beneficial licensing deals.

Broadcast Music, Inc.® Reports Record-High Revenues

Broadcast Music, Inc.® a leading global music rights management organization, reported revenues totaling more than $931 million for its 2011 fiscal year, a 1.5% increase from the previous year. BMI said its distribution to songwriters and music publishers totaled $796 million, a historic high for the world’s largest music rights organization.

President and CEO Del Bryant attributed this strong performance in part to BMI’s ability to effectively manage a variety of licenses that allow the widest possible use of the music rights that BMI represents. “In addition to the strength of our repertoire, a key factor in our ability to grow revenues despite a challenging global economy is the enduring value of our core offering: the blanket license,” said Bryant. “Securing unlimited public-performance rights to BMI’s entire repertoire of more than 6.5 million works with one stable agreement is as valuable for new media companies such as YouTube and Spotify as it is for our radio, television, cable network and general licensees.”

Mr. Bryant’s comments underscore the point that more is usually better in music rights contracts: the more rights that a contract covers the more revenue streams it makes available for publishers. This is relevant to not only music publishers but any media company interested in adding music licenses to its revenue stream.


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

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