Know your rights

Online headlines sometimes get ahead of the story that follows, as was the case yesterday, when e-marketer wrote that “Mobile usage overtakes print consumption“.

It would be easy enough to interpret “usage” as “reading”, and some comments on the article took exception to the potential confusion. It was interesting, though, that the time spent on mobile each day is now estimated at an hour, up 30% over 2010, while the time spent reading magazines and newspapers is down 12%, to 44 minutes a day.

It’s a trend, not an absolute comparison, but where time and share of mind goes, so too will advertising revenues and product sales.

As content is increasingly found and consumed digitally, content owners are being pressured to develop new ways to support smaller-scale sales and (very) light footprints for tracking rights and royalties. YouTube recently bought RightsFlow to help it manage revenue sharing for music posted on the site.

This gives YouTube a credible option for clearing rights and turning what would have been infringement into a revenue-sharing win-win.

RightsFlow operates at the level of a songwriter or a music publisher. The revenue might not prove to be a windfall, but it is a smarter approach than the one taken by record labels in licensing content to Spotify.

In publishing, start-ups like Valobox, which has developed a mechanism to sell content on a progressive basis, offer a practical approach to micro-consumption and micro-payments. Compared with some of the arm’s-length mechanisms we have relied on to track and clear rights, this small-scale approach offers a path to capitalize on content consumption wherever it occurs.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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