Rights, Royalties, and the Data That Can Save Periodical Publishers

By Richard Whittington, SVP, Media and Entertainment, SAP, and Amos Biegun, Global Head, Rights and Royalties, Vistex

This is the sixth in a series of exclusive industry insights from SAP. You can read the previous stories here, here, here, here and here.

In a world that believes content should be free, the push and pull between creating quality content and making money are deeply contentious. How can print and digital periodical publishers prove that they are worthy to profit from journalism that contributes to an informed — and sometimes entertained – public? The answer is rights and royalty data.

The periodical industry is fraught with considerable challenges as it continues to compete in a substantially transformed market. From privacy regulations and next-generation digital-first models to dwindling already razor-thin profit margins, publishers are rethinking their relationships with readers and their dependence on advertisers.

But perhaps the trickiest part of running a print or digital periodical business is guaranteeing the core mission: delivering quality articles that interest and inform a mass readership. The more exceptional the content, the more likely it will be lifted or shared across a variety of social and media channels. And when no one is tracking who is circulating which pieces, publishers can miss out on considerable revenue.

The more removed periodical publishers are from their content, the more critical rights and royalty data management becomes.

Securing Content Rights and Royalties with Data Transparency

Most publishers have no idea what’s due to them. It’s just by luck – like an innocent Google search or a friend’s social share – that their content is found in unauthorized publications. Then, they evaluate whether it makes sense to make the first contact and get the money that’s owed to them.

Let’s face it: whether we are talking hundreds of dollars or tens of millions, revenue is always worth the time, money, and effort – no matter how large the infringing competitor. Frequently, this matter brings more than just back royalties. Penalties, legal fees, and regulatory provisions are also at stake, which can give the rightful content owner an edge over the competition.

Unfortunately, print and digital media publishers cannot afford to wait until they trip over unlicensed use of their content. They need real-time transparency and insight into where their articles appear – whether it’s an unattributed sentence, paragraph, photo, or full-length piece.

With a complete, end-to-end rights and royalty management solution, such as SAP S/4HANA for rights and royalty management by Vistex, periodical businesses can clear and handle the underlying rights of their articles.

They can track where their intellectual property is leveraged, analyze readership volumes and behaviors, and predict which topics gain the most interest.

Perhaps more importantly, publishers can boost their profitability in ways that were never considered viable before.

They can instantly pinpoint and exploit new revenue opportunities – such as a new format, channel, or media partnership.

Even an algorithm can help determine whether the distribution structure should be weekly, monthly, or bimonthly and if subscription rates should be raised or lowered.

Additionally, this data can give advertisers insight into readership demographics and content preferences as well as ROI and cross-promotion prospects with complementary publications.

Finding Profitable Success with a Clear Focus

With rights and royalty data, publishers f print and digital periodicals must build a strong case for the value and trustworthiness of their work. Doing so will go a long way to encourage readers to support them financially by paying premium subscriptions – even as the landscape of media competitors continues to grow.

Find out how SAP S4/HANA for rights and royalty management by Vistex can help your periodical business leverage rights and royalty data as an opportunity for operational transformation and profitability.