Licenced and Non-Author Publishing – What do Publishers want?

Posted on: Tuesday 19 April 2016 1:52pm by Simon Bor

Emily Campan, (Penguin Random House)
David Maybury (Scholastic Children’s Books)
Katie Price (Hachette Children’s Group)

Host and producer: John Lomas-Bullivant (Dynamite Studios)


‘Discoverability’ was the buzzword of this year’s CMC Rights Exchange @LBF

Publishers are now looking to take rights in a TV or digital project as part of the partnership – especially if they invest at an early stage..

IMG_3515The annuals market is in decline, and properties such as ‘Doctor Who’ are moving to quality colouring-in books. But one way or another, licensed product has been a mainstay of children’s publishing for decades. Now publishers are looking to share in the IP, but David Maybury, Media Development Director at Scholastic Children’s Books says they’re not looking for a ‘land-grab’.

With David on the panel were Katie Price, who was drafted in from HIT Entertainment to Hachette Children’s Group to help increase their share of licenced publishing, and Emily Campan, Licensed Publishing and TV Development Executive at Penguin Random House.

Emily thought that the biggest challenge in today’s market is that the ways children consume content are getting more diverse. Penguin Random House’s focus is to add value to properties. As the annuals market has declined, properties such as ‘Doctor Who’ have done well in quality colouring-in books. They look for a share of IP if they are investing in a property at an early stage.

‘It’s about discoverability,’ said David, using this year’s CMC Rights Exchange buzzword, ‘you need as much shelf-space as you can get.’

For Katie, the focus is to acquire rights, but Hachette also has a lot of IP to sell as well. ‘In publishing there are fewer and fewer places to go, other than Waterstones and Amazon, but licensing opens up a lot more sales channels.’  However,  she warned that a lot of TV shows are formulaic, thinking about the toy range before anything else. This didn’t help in the publishing market.

As with other sessions, there was a feeling that licensed product from TV-based properties was stronger than films, purely because the exposure time is longer.  But what about digital media? Emily said that you have to be careful about YouTube, after all, 400 hours of video is uploaded every minute. They are approached by agents for YouTubers who ask for big advances. And they are cautious.  However, they had success with Zoella, taking her on at an early stage in her vlogging career.


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About the author

Simon Bor


I studied Animation at Farnham, and, more recently, I have been awarded an MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth University. I set up Honeycomb Animation with Sara Bor and have been involved in children’s television since the mid eighties. As a writer, I have co written and created several shows… Read more