Royalty Management2021-08-12T13:18:41-04:00

LET US HELP YOU MANAGE COMPLEX ROYALTY MANAGEMENT PROCESSES

knkPublishing‘s Rights and Royalties Management Software offers an integrated solution that will not only save time and effort but simultaneously enable you to avoid errors, it also delivers extraordinary flexibility in leveraging the content to which you hold the rights.

Since the application is built on proven and future-proof Microsoft technology, your royalty system connects seamlessly with the other business tools you may already be using.

knkPublishing’s Rights and Royalties Management Software Will:

Improve the speed and accuracy of creating contracts

Increase the flexibility and range of contracts you can create

Simplify your royalty accounting process

Keep your authors happy

Improve the speed and accuracy of creating contracts

  • Flexible and easy-to-set-up contract templates
  • Content-based royalty management at any level (work, edition, chapter, article) that links directly into royalty accounting
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See our Youtube Video on how Templates for Royalty Contracts can help

Increase the flexibility and range of contracts you can create

  • Easily accommodate all forms of royalties – flat-rate, multiple tier agreemantes, advances, guarantee – in broad range of combinations
  • Effortlessly set up complex contracts with an unlimited number and type of payees – authors, publishers, illustrators, agencies, estates, etc.
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See our Youtube Video on how you can manage all your Royalties in a flexible way

Simplify your royalty accounting processes

  • Direct, real-time integration between royalties and knkPublishing’s Financial Accountung system, built without interfaces, resulting in faster and more accurate processing
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See our Youtube Video on how you can manage Complex Royalty Contracts

Keep your authors happy

  • Providing transparent, timely and accurate royalty reporting
  • Combining reporting on multiple titles, editions and currencies in one place
  • Responding quickly to author queries based on real-time data

Wouldn’t it be great to manage royalties quickly, easily and still know they’re accurate?

Sounds too good to be true?

RIGHTS & ROYALTIES ON OUR BLOG

Bill Rosenblatt talks on the big bold moves that publishers should make now

knk recently interviewed publishing consultant, Bill Rosenblatt as part of knk’s continuing series of interviews with thought leaders serving the book publishing industry and its supporting communities. Mr. Rosenblatt is a globally recognized authority on intellectual property and technology issues in the digital age. Bill’s breadth of experience on matters of intellectual property and technology extends well beyond the challenges facing book publishers.  

We asked Bill what he regarded as the most significant challenges currently being faced by content industries today, and he observed that generally, there has not yet been sufficient pain to cause publishers to make real changes to their business models. He offered the music industry as an illustration, where severe pain led to enormous innovation.  “The publishing industry hasn’t done enough to counteract the forces that have disrupted the way the industry operates”. Music converted to access-based services like Spotify while, for example, trade publishing hasn’t been willing to undertake the changes to restructure author contracts that would be necessary to support business models other than standard retail.   

In stark contrastHigher Education publishing is undergoing major changeswith more likely to follow. That’s because the traditional business model isn’t working anymore and publishers are losing money, a fact borne out by recently published statistics from the Student  Monitor (read more here). Significant pain increases the tolerance for greater risk and innovation.   

Talking specifically about rights and royaltiesMr. Rosenblatt believes the biggest challenge is understanding the business case for improved processes.  Rights management in the Internet age is an ongoing challenge. Rights and Royalties are still being treated as back office clerical functions rather than top line opportunities”.  Bill sits on the BISG Rights Committee and speaks with many publishers; he says it’s challenging to get senior management to focus on the measurable ROI from improving the way rights and royalties are managed, particularly on the revenue sideOnce a publisher has understood the business case, they need to consider what changes they need to make to the organization chart, processes and systems, to enable those opportunities that cannot be realized with the current technology and infrastructure.  Only then does it make sense for publishers to implement standards and taxonomy among the different entities in the value chain 

This led us to a discussion of the most significant unrealized Investment opportunities in rights and royalties – the proverbial “low hanging fruit.  What Mr. Rosenblatt sees in his business are most often requests for increased operational efficiencies. Bill is frequently asked, “Can you help us find a new (fill in the blanksystem.  But it’s always about increasing efficiency and rarely about new lines of revenue  streamlining what’s there and not doing the big, bold, and innovative things.   

Mr. Rosenblatt believes that streaming audio is emerging as a significant area of opportunity for publishersHe sees lots of startups and some big names like Spotify and Audible investing in their own spoken-word audio content.  And this interest is only just begun. 

He predicts the audio revolution will be big in most publishing segments (with the possible exception of STM).  20 years ago, there were just two ways of consuming audio – one was radio and one was vinyl or CD.  The ondemand music model changed all that and eventually caused a huge shift in consumer behavior. Bill sees much the same thing happening with spokenword audio on demand. Podcasting, smart speakers and the mainstream smartphone will enable the broad penetration of all kinds of audio content. And it’s likely there will be a big market for spoken word audio that consumers will pay for rather than free with ads. 

Mr. Rosenblatt adds that licensing issues for spoken-word content is the subject of one of the sessions at his Copyright and Technology conference in NYC (copyrightandtechconf.com), on January 15. “Podcasting in particular has been a Wild West, with just about everyone distributing their podcasts wherever they can without worrying about licensing,” he says. “Compare that with the tightly controlled, heavily licensed world of audiobooks. I think we’re at the beginning of a major change in the way spoken word audio is treated as a licensing opportunity, and we discuss that at the conference.” 

We moved on to discussing the next thing in technology for Rights and Royalties.  Bill believes that  automation is something that a big part of the industry is looking at and no one has got very far.  There are good systems out there, but in general they don’t deal with how you communicate across the value chain.  Again, he points to the music industry as the leader here. They’re at least a couple years ahead. That’s not necessarily because they are smarter; it’s because they have simple units of commerce that everyone agrees on, even across geographies: songs, recordings, albums. Publishers cant agree on what a chapter is.  Its difficult to license something that we cant agree on.  There is very little standard terminology in books.  Can a professor put together content from modules from multiple publishers Not easily.  Rights issues and system difficulties all follow on from that.     

Finally, we asked about the potential application of blockchain in publishing systems, as Mr. Rosenblatt is an expert in the use of blockchain technology.  His first comment was, “It will be a while coming”.  Areas where apps may be useful are in rights and royalties, ebook sales, general supply chain management tracking, and in piracy trackandtrace applications. Block-chain is already seeing significant adoption in the general supply chain world outside of publishing (e.g. the Walmart app to isolate the origin of tainted greens after a national scare, which cut the time it took to isolate the source of the problem from days down to minutes).  He believes that it needs to be proven in other industries first.  Publishing is just not there yet. 

Bill Rosenblatt is President of GiantSteps Media Strategies, (https://giantstepssmts.comsuccessful management consultancy focused on the content industries.  Bill has over 20 years experience in media consulting, and prior to that was an IT exec at Mc-Graw-Hill and Times-Mirror, and a software engineer at Motorola.  He is the Program Chair and co-producer of the annual Copyright and Technology conferences (copyrightandtechconf.com), author of the blog Copyright and Technology (copyrightandtechnology.com), and a contributor to ForbesHe holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton, an MS from University of Massachusetts and is a member of BISG, the Copyright Society of USA and The Open Music Initiative. 

knk Software is a software solutions provider solely focused on the publishing and media industry with about 450 clients on three continents. 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Tremendous Complexities on Royalties: An interview with Kris Kliemann

knk interviewed publishing consultant, Kris Kliemann in knk’s continuing series of interviews with thought leaders from the book publishing industry and its supporting communities. Ms. Kliemann has a well-earned reputation as a specialist in rights and royalties and the integration of digital solutions into the rights business.

We asked Ms. Kliemann what she saw as the key business challenges faced by publishers and agents. Ms. Kliemann observed that the single most significant challenge faced by rights sellers is the proliferation of titles and content, a by-product of industry consolidation and globalization, and the urgency to get books ‘seen’. For example, consider how the Random House rights holdings have grown since the addition of Penguin. When we add discovery options created by digital delivery, the licensing opportunities potentially created with increased visibility expand dramatically. It’s equally challenging for rights buyers; even if they know what books they want to secure, confirming who holds the rights to any particular IP, and whether it has already been licensed, is not easy.

Secondly, both buyers and sellers are faced with a constant stream of new business models for content use. Not too long ago, rights opportunities were limited by the available formats for books – hard and soft cover. Now we have downloaded audio, digital delivery through publisher and/or aggregator platforms, and sites with miscellaneous collections of fractional content, all serving content in new ways. Publishers want to provide content that institutions and consumers demand, but they are also concerned that licensing rights to all these new models will cannibalize their traditional business. There is no question that the world of rights is no longer as simple as it once was.

And finally, while many publishing business processes have been fully both automated and integrated, the business of rights has seen only limited process improvements, with many organizations still heavily dependent on manual workflows, and only rudimentary investment in technology. “Rights sales are often regarded as ‘nice-to-have,’ unbudgeted revenues – publishers are certainly delighted when the money comes in, but as many publishers do not budget for or track rights at a detailed level, they consequently don’t understand that rights activities and revenues can be significantly improved when supported by robust technology.”

Ms. Kliemann believes that this is a challenge that can be solved, given the currently available rights systems, and the incremental revenue could come from many sources. These include those rights that publishers don’t license but could if they had data on availability, as well as monies that would come from being able to track those instances where we “just don’t get paid, whether advances due after contracts are signed or book royalties due when advances have earned out”.

“A typical publishing contract has a tremendous complexity around royalty”, says Kris, resulting in the fact that every single payment must be analyzed. But with the help of a few simple technological set ups, we’ve had much greater insight and greater revenues. “Sure, it’s complicated, but databases can make things clearer. We need to move past the current situation where mistakes are made ALL THE TIME and the rights holders suffer most.”

So where is the low hanging fruit for addressing rights data with technology?

Ms. Kliemann is very active with BISG’s Rights Committee (and was recently appointed as the Committee’s chairperson), and their work on a taxonomy for rights. The Committee has worked diligently over the course of the past year to develop licensing rights definitions for components, and recently released these standards to a group of industry partners to test and run pilot projects with the long-term objective of building an electronic data exchange. Ms. Kliemann observed that “We’d like an agreement across the industry on a set of standards for rights. From there, the first thing we must do is find a way to automate rights and royalty payments”. “The pain points today around pdf statements and a lack of transparency lead to a waste of time (and money) at every link in the chain. With agreed standards, a US company could send a file to a US literary agent that was easy to vet and transmittable onward to authors; and a translating publisher could send a local co-agent a royalty report that would be simple to transmit back to a US publisher or author agent”.

Ms. Kliemann further observed, Rights and licensing doesn’t work simply. But back in the day, we would have said that processing an order from a bookstore was also a complicated problem. Contracts are complex and work needs to be done to capture the data in a software environment, but it is absolutely do-able. And we simply cannot manage a rights business on file cards, or even spreadsheets, anymore.

Kris Kliemann is President of Kliemann and Company. The company consults with a wide range of businesses on a wide range of topics including workflow and processes related to rights, royalties and permissions, as well as other interesting publishing problems. Kris’ LinkedIn profile can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kriskliemann.

knk Software is a software solutions provider solely focused on the publishing and media industry with about 450 clients on three continents.

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

Rights & Royalties: Leaving behind money in untapped rights transactions?

When David Hetherington(CMO at knk Software LP) asked attendees at a recent BISG rights webinar, to estimate how much money they were leaving behind in untapped rights transactions, the audience consensus was between 10%-20% of annual rights revenues ! 

This is one reason why Rights, Royalties and Permissions management has become an increasingly important contributor to the success of today’s publishing enterprise.  It has been driven by the globalization of publishingthe variety of options offered by digital delivery formats, allowing them to be parsed in more complex waysnot to mention the on-line retailers who own much of the delivery and customer data, so that publishers don’t know where, what and why their customers buy (especially tough in verticals such as higher-ed for example). 

In addition, the terms and conditions around acquired rights and permissions have become more complex.  Rights owners have become much more aggressive in enforcing those conditions and launching litigation in the event they are breached.  So, technology has become essential to manage the new and steadily growing complexity, of both selling and acquiring rights.  You cant do it on index cards anymore !   

It’s clear that publisher’s profits can no longer depend on the old faithful hard-cover editions. If publishers are to be successful in developing and sustaining a profitable mix of delivery formats and channels that also meet the market’s needs, then they must add data analytics to their list of core competencies. 

Rights and Royalties management has been an integral part of knkPublishing software for some time, and the latest release (R2 2019) offers additional functionality and benefits to publishers. 

First and foremost, the software has always provided content-based data structure.  This means that the contract can be defined at the lowest fractional level of saleable content, and this data passes all the way through the system, from contract management, editorial and production, through inventory management (when necessary), to billing and sales and royalty accounting.  One of the benefits to users here is that sales and royalties may be easily and flexibly analyzed at both the ISBN, and the work or IP level, showing all the different formats that are derivatives of the original IP.  The product is simple to use for both entry level and large publishers and meets the needs of publishing verticals including, trade, higher-ed, professional, and scholarly publishers. What’s more, the newest release has more sophisticated support for subscription-based B2C and B2B publishersincluding streaming or access to on-line databases. 

The Rights and Royalties module can be run standalone or as part of the integrated suite of knkPublishing software that covers the whole range of publishers supply chain operations.  It may be operated in-house or in the cloud or switched from one to the other depending on our customer’s needs.  If, like those aforementioned attendees at the BISG webinaryou are leaving money on the table with your rights and royalties data management system, consider reviewing what the newest release of knkPublishing software can do for you.  For more details on the software capabilities, please go to https://www.knkpublishingsoftware.com/royalty-software/.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash 

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