Biz Doc: It Has Come To This

Studios and eBooks

August 2012

I had a meeting and then a conference call recently with the head of a very successful production studio.  They have several series on the air and are enjoying high levels of success.  The topic was eBooks and how they can extend the on-screen brands to a line of eBooks that augments the experience.  They also held title to a fairly large backlist of previously published books that could be revived as eBooks.

The meetings went well but the executive did not see the value that partnering with a publisher could bring to his business.  The read we got was that production studios think about producing and being the producer.  They had the budget and space with which to embark on building an eBook business from the inside of the media organization.  Along the way, the executive had established some level of relationship with Amazon, presumably through the video side of the business.  He felt that they can go it alone and achieve results.

The point that was seemed to be missing was this: businesses should do what they are expert at doing and seek expert partners for everything else.  Establishing an eBook division using media teams is possible – but is is the highest best use of that talent and does it represent the fastest path to market and ensure the highest level of expertise?  That answer is an emphatic NO.  The studio will very likely achieve some level of results but they will have no way of knowing the relative status of their performance.  A publishing partner can provide that data.

Discussions continue on-n-off and I remain hopeful that we can work with this studio as they have some exciting content.

Not long ago I had a meeting with a different studio, a smaller one without nearly unlimited resources and the deal efficiencies seemed to enable them to see the benefits very clearly and we quickly reached verbal agreement on all key deal points.  In short order we had a very significant library in production with a great partner and are driving toward 2012 the holiday selling season.

There’s a lesson in there…


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