Klopotek Rights Sales Manager – The relevance of a rights licensing system fit for purpose
Klopotek’s answer to the market demands: Rights Sales Manager
Rights Sales Manager is a workflow-oriented browser-based solution, designed to guide you through the entire rights negotiation and selling process. It provides smart and simple user interaction across multiple desktop and mobile devices, ensuring that information regarding rights availability, title and author details as well as customer profiles are at your fingertips.
The intuitive workflow set-up enables you to manage every aspect of the rights selling process: matching up titles with potential customers, marketing campaigns, recording and managing multiple interests, offer negotiation, contract and invoice chasing, royalty statement tracking, book fair management, reversion of rights, and extensive reporting on all sales activities.
The Rights Sales Manager is part of Klopotek’s cloud-based platform for optimized user interaction across computers and portable devices: Klopotek STREAM.
To learn more about the Rights Sales Manager, please go to www.klopotek.com and check out the ‘STREAM’ section of our website. You will find a detailed brochure on the product as well as a recording of a webinar (live presentation) with rights expert Lynette Owen who has been cited in the interview.
The value of rights income has increased dramatically due to growing format and delivery options and the expansion of global market opportunities.
The sale of physical books and journals has begun a relentless shift to the sale of content in multiple forms, with finer division of regional rights becoming the de-facto standard.
Given the need to manage more opportunities, have real-time visibility of your organization’s rights inventory, and be aware of offers in your rights pipeline, it is no longer realistic to manage these processes with spreadsheets and ring binders; it requires technology that provides you with the real time visibility to your rights portfolio.
Klopotek engaged the expertise of Ruth Tellis of Rights2 Consultants, expert in the field of Rights and Compliance, to give her opinion and validate the requirements for publishers looking at software solutions in the rights area.
These are her answers to the questions we asked her to illustrate the market situation and demands:
How can Rights Managers make their organisation understand the value of Rights Licensing and the need for investment in systems?
Rights Licensing is a vital function in the publishing business, as a revenue generating function, and in many businesses, this income makes a significant contribution to profitability of the business as a whole. Lynette Owen states that ‘Rights income should never be compared directly with sales turnover; the correct comparison is retained profit from rights deals against the profit element of direct sales’ (Lynette Owen: Selling Rights, 7th edition, (2014) Routledge).
Additionally, there is an important service element to rights licencing. Often the rights department is the first contact point for partner publishers, and for existing and prospective authors and customers. If licensing is dealt with effectively it creates an important good impression and this impacts the reputation of the company.
We also have a responsibility as members of the creative industries to respect intellectual property and trade rights responsibly.
Why does Rights Licensing need to be systemized?
As we all know, rights licensing is a complex process. A process audit carried out by Rights Consultants Rights2 uncovered a licensing process that had 53 steps from initial interest to licensing of a translations deal (including title selection, rights research, sending samples, negotiation, issuing and agreeing a contract, and receiving the final licensed edition), never mind any post-contract actions.
I think we are so used to working in our traditional ways that we don’t even realise that we are dealing with complexity and even creating additional complexity in our processes. Managing this complexity is frustrating and time consuming, and actually detracts from the parts of our jobs that we enjoy most and that make best use of our skills.
Rights sales people are highly educated and skilled, often multilingual, and great at building relationships, making deals and closing sales. That is what we should be spending time on, not having to carry out unnecessary admin duties such as double keying data, and battling with multiple sources of information. We need systems that are straightforward, and that can make our lives easier.
What should the ideal Rights system do?
- We need up-to-date title information, so that we know about new titles, authors, and editions and are then able to match appropriate titles with our customer interests.
- We need to know what rights we have to the content we are licensing, including contracted rights, third party material and any additional required approvals such as author or agents.
- We need to be able to see what rights have already been licensed, both territorial and language rights, whether exclusive or not, and when those licenses are due to expire.
- We want to be able to see information about our customers and their interests, and past licensing activities so that preparation for book fairs and sales trips are made easier.
- We want to be able to see where we are in the workflow so that we can process deals more efficiently and quickly.
- We want to be able to see reports on our customers and deals so that we can analyse our business, by title, subject area, customer interest, territory, language and deal value.
Most of these requirements apply to all types of rights licensing, whether it be translations, co-editions, digital licensing or indeed permissions. If we can systemise the regular repetitive actions involved in recording deals, it gives us more time to build relationships, increase and tailor our marketing opportunities and increase the number of deals completed.
What have you found the biggest benefit to be from having a rights system?
Being able to extract good reports! Good reporting allows us to understand our business and plan how to grow it. We can see what content is popular, who the most important customers are, and identify any gaps to target for business development. Reports can also enable you to pro-actively follow up sales leads – chasing interest and options granted or ensuring contracts are returned promptly so that invoices can be issued. They enable us to get to grips with finance, using reports to track payments and royalty accounting to ensure that all of the hard work spent negotiating deals actually results in bottom line revenue for our business. We can use reports to manage licences through their duration, checking whether licensees have published on time, reminding them of licenses which are coming to an end, which they may wish to renew.
In short good reporting gives you a great oversight of your rights business and crucially helps you to contract the time it takes to get from initial interest to a fully paid up licence, giving you more time to spend growing your business.
About Rights2 Consultants
Rights2 Consultants Clare Hodder and Ruth Tellis have combined experience of over 30 years in rights and licensing for publishers and have a great understanding of the real-world rights issues facing publishers, bringing their extensive knowledge of acquisition and licensing to provide a fresh perspective and practical, no-nonsense solutions to real-world rights issues. We offer training, analysis and advice on all aspects of rights acquisition and licensing for the publishing industry.
Contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss how we can help you:
Please connect with us on LinkedIn or email us on either of the addresses below:
Clare: uk.linkedin.com/in/clarehodder ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth: uk.linkedin.com/in/ruthptellis ▪ email@example.com
© for the Q/A section of this piece: Ruth Tellis & Clare Hodder, Rights2 Consultants
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
© for the other parts of this piece: Klopotek