Susan Tusken, principal at consultancy Licensing Logistics, was recently named by Cygnus Business Media to help grow its licensing division. She spoke to Media Business about successful partnerships between publishers and licensing partners.
Media Business: Where do you see untapped licensing potential for b-to-b media publishers?
Susan Tusken: I see the most [opportunity for] growth in nontraditional content. While print content will always be a vital piece of licensing, digital and online content will be the key to reaching licensing revenue goals for publishing companies. Publishers are going to need to look deeply into their libraries of content and be able to offer all of the appealing pieces to the licensing partners: videos, blogs, e-newsletters.
MB: Is that something that most publishers are considering at this point?
Tusken: Publishers are trying, but they come up against some challenges. It's easy to negotiate a deal. The more difficult side is to be able to fulfill it and get those pieces to the partners.
MB: What are some of the challenges?
Tusken: One of the biggest challenges is that publishing companies are publishing companies, not licensing companies. When it comes to licensing, they are dealing with a segment that isn't a core piece of their business. When development time is short and positions are eliminated, they are forced to keep their focus on their core business, which is understandable. But licensing seems to get lost in the shuffle. Finding the development time that it takes to fulfill the licensing of nontraditional online content can pose a challenge because, if the publisher has any spare technological resources, they are putting them toward their internal publishing needs—websites, portals, new online products—not how to get these products to the licensing partners.
MB: Is this revenue that companies are leaving on the table?
MB: What about smaller partners? How should publishers evaluate those opportunities?
Tusken: Publishers need to look at exposure and revenue. The benefit has to outweigh the cost. There needs to be exposure that will increase traffic to your site, or subscriptions or revenue.
It can depend on how the publishing company has the technological side set up. There may not be any cost associated with (a smaller partnership) because it's a feed (that is) already offered to larger partners. You just have to look and say, is this as easy as finding money sitting on the sidewalk or is this going to be a lot of accounting and technological work on our end.