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Licence to bill

Licence to bill

A publisher will do well to fork out fees and launch regional editions of international titles, says the head of licensing from global media company, Haymarket.

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September 24, 2008 9:02 by



Austyn Allison

The region’s news stands are filled with regional editions of international magazine titles, and Haymarket is the name behind many of them. The UK-based publisher has 127 franchised titles around the world, and recently launched football title FourFourTwo through UAE publishing house The Media Factory. It is also preparing to relaunch Campaign, formerly with ITP, through Motivate Publishing. Although he would not be drawn to comment on the advertising title, Haymarket’s licensing director Tim Bulley spoke about why a publisher should fork out money on license fees rather than going it alone.

How many titles does Haymarket have in the Middle East at the moment?
We have Autocar, F1 Racing and FourFourTwo with The Media Factory. We publish PrintWeek with the Al Ghurair group, and Stuff with Motivate.

You have three partners in the UAE. How does that compare to other places in the world?
We have multiple partners in various territories. We have two partners in Russia for example. We have two partners in Germany. Provided the partners are working in a specific market sector and are not bumping into each other, that works pretty well. With the three partners we have in the Middle East, the relationship between all three is very good because they are working in very specific areas and are not competing against each other. What we wouldn’t do is launch a competing brand with another party. For example, we wouldn’t launch a motoring title with Motivate, because clearly our motoring publishers are The Media Factory

Similarly, we wouldn’t look at licensing a consumer electronics magazine to The Media Factory, which would then compete with Motivate. As a result of that, The Media Factory and Motivate have a very good relationship.

In terms of licensing, what are the titles that bring in the most money?
In terms of the biggest licensed brand, Stuff, F1 Racing, and Autocar. FourFourTwo is right next door. And in the business-to-business arena, it’s Campaign and PrintWeek. And we are also seeing considerable growth for our women’s title Eve.

The local content must be pretty limited in some of the titles.
It varies from title to title, really. Something like F1 Racing is extremely global. But across our portfolio we specifically tell publishers we don’t want to publish clones of our UK title.

Even with F1 Racing where an awful lot of the content is applicable to all markets, out of the 29 editions that we publish, there will be a huge number of different front covers, for example, and different opening features that are tailored towards the local market.

To give you an example, for the British Grand Prix, we published a Lewis Hamilton front cover [in the UK], whereas in Poland, Robert Kubica of course, was fighting for the championship and he is massive news there, so I would be surprised if they ran anything there but a Robert Kubica cover heading into the British Grand Prix.

What sort of support do you give licensees?
We have a very proactive, two-way relationship with licensees. We run something that I call the “Haymarket consultancy service,” where we are essentially sharing our experience and expertise with our partners, but also getting them to work very closely with our team.

When you sign a new license, you come across to the UK and do an induction course for a minimum of two days, sometimes up to a week, where you’re working hand-in-hand with our editorial team to understand the brand, the tone of voice, the design, how to get advertising, all of that sort of thing.
And that continues right the way through the partnership. If there are specific issues that licensees have, then they can send people to us and we will put in the right experts to help solve them. We run regular conferences where we get all of our partners together and get them sharing ideas.

We’re not arrogant enough to say that we’ve got all the answers in the UK, but we’ve got more than 70 different partners working around the world on the same sort of brands, facing similar successes and problems.

So you’ve got this club, if you like, of people who are publishing very similar brands; and we encourage them to share information, to share market knowledge, contacts and even content.

There’s a great story a couple of months ago when [Indian auto manufacturer] Tata launched its “people’s car.” Of course, Autocar India was in the best position to be able to do the interview with the head of the show at Tata and do the test for the car. They then sent that content around the world to all the Autocar partners.

How do you police the content of your licensed titles?
We have a regular dialogue with our licensees anyway, but on a very basic level, we have regular international editorial meetings with the editors and the brand managers of each of the titles, and we do page-turners of all the magazines.

We’re the experts in the market sectors that we operate in – motor sports, motoring, consumer electronics – but we work with experts in the countries, so our publishing partners are experts in the UAE, or experts in Mexico, etcetera. And by putting those two things together, you get a really powerful partnership.

How does Haymarket licensing work from a financial point of view?
We have a standard monthly license fee, which covers the use of the brand, the use of the content, the cost associated with the content delivery system. Each licensee gets his own account manager who is there to be able to help with any problems. And then we take a performance royalty, which is based on net advertising revenue. We also reserve the right to be able to sell international advertising into the title itself. We retain a certain amount of permission for advertising space for us to be able to do that.

It’s not like we use it all the time, but if we have an international campaign running for somebody like Shell, then we’re able to use that permission of advertising. Equally, we also encourage our partners to sell international ad campaigns themselves. If partners are able to open doors and an international ad campaign happens as a result of that, then they are financially rewarded for that as well.

Why would a publisher want to launch a licensed title? Why not just launch their own title?
The first answer is a simple one about brand. When you are licensing a title as opposed to syndicating content, you are buying into a globally famous brand. And we would hope that the majority of brands within our portfolio – titles like Autocar, which is the oldest motoring magazine in the world, F1 Racing, which is the official magazine of Formula One, and indeed Campaign – are world-renowned brands. And that gives you a head start in two areas. It should give you a head start within the enthusiast community, but almost more importantly, there will be a good portfolio of advertisers that will probably already have an advertising relationship with the brand somewhere in the world, and also understand the brand and be comfortable with the brand. And that gives the advertising sales teams and commercial department a head start when they’re going out to talk to clients, commercial advertisers or commercial partners.

The second reason that you’d want to get involved is that you become part of a family of Haymarket licensees that are all working together or sharing experience and expertise, which essentially gives you a shortcut into launching the business.

And then, of course, there’s the world-leading content.

Are you planning to license more titles to the Middle East, in Dubai?
Absolutely. I would hope that we would be growing our portfolio for the next three years –hopefully quite aggressively – with those partners. I can’t necessarily tell you the conversation I’m having with [Motivate and The Media Factory], but both of them are very creative, energetic partners to have.

Where is your biggest licensing market?
Russia is a very dynamic, fast-growing market. That is a very important market. And we work with an excellent partner in Turkey, and their economy is driving ahead: We’re enjoying double-digit growth. I would also count the UAE as one of the top three exciting markets.

First seen on www.communicate.ae



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