So far most of the conversation about monetizing mobile has revolved around subscriptions and advertising ― which is no surprise as both are the bread and butter of media companies. But publishers should also explore alternative revenue streams, such as content licensing, which is already a slice of many publisher business models on the Web.
Copyright Clearance Center
, which provides licensing solutions to many publishers for the Web, is now trying to help them take the opportunity mobile. The company's RightsLink
tool, which powers the reprint button for publishers like The New York Times, is now also available in mobile apps.
The company's first mobile client is CHEST, the Journal of The American College of Chest Physicians. When readers of an article on the iPad or iPhone version click on the “Share” button, the list of options now includes “Get Permissions.” Users can click on the option to go to the RightsLink service, where they can purchase rights for the material.
Christopher Kenneally, director of business development for CCC, said that while publishers are understandably more focused on getting mobile subscription and advertising opportunities nailed down, they should also consider getting ahead of licensing. He noted that real estate in menu buttons will fill up fast, and so CCC saw the opportunity to get their option in there quickly.
“Publishers have the immediate revenue to take care of first,” Kenneally said in a phone interview. “But the permissions piece can be a secondary revenue stream.”
New content licensing opportunities in mobile
RightsLink clients on the Web can offer a variety of customizable options to purchase reprints (e.g. “reuse on a pamphlet” or “send in an email”). Kenneally said he is also beginning to see interest in adding mobile to the mix by offering the option for “reuse in a mobile app.”
“We've recognized that application developers are thinking about ways to repurpose content for an app,” he said. For example, an app developer might want to purchase content in order to aggregate it for an app.
Clearly a button on a mobile app is not going to immediately lead to huge revenue streams, but it does make it easy for publishers to add another opportunity to sell content. As Kenneally noted, the copyright laws don't change, but devices do. It's an opportunity for media companies to envision new ways to sell content.