It’s been a long week - with more shifts, twists and changes to keep everything interesting.
Monday morning saw the publishing landscape transformed - the Penguin Random House merger has created the largest publishing house in the world - while Tuesday saw Vickey Barsnley bow out of HarperCollins - with an interesting epilogue, delivered at the HarperCollins Summer Party on Thursday evening:
My advice to publishers, and I think on this occasion I’m probably allowed to give a little piece of advice, is by all means play with tech companies, but please please don’t try and become one. Remember where your true strength lies—we are content businesses.
The HarperCollins changes don’t end there - Charlie Redmayne is coming back to the fold - leaving his CEO position at Pottermore and rejoining HC. This, interestingly, shifts the gender balance of publishing to a very male-bias (see The Guardian) - and introduces two strong digitally aware voices into the publishing arena. And moves toward larger franchises, author brands and away from editorial/author focus.
If you’re of a mind - check out pc2012s interview with Radmayne on Pottermore, his role and the potential of digital roll out and developing platforms:
WHAT DOES ALL THAT MEAN ANYWAY?
After some years of second guessing and trial attempts, companies are becoming clearer about their models in a constantly changing industry: you produce content for the children’s entertainment industry and not just as a publisher, an animation studio or a game developer.
The models are evolving.
Book publishers are reinventing themselves. Game Devs are buying IP and talking more and more marketing and animation studios are strategising. All are presenting themselves as something new - but they’re basically saying the same thing:
We create great content, and make it work where it needs to - mirroring how audiences access different content, on different devices, through different channels. Companies almost need to be platform agnostic - or have strategic partnerships that make them so.
Not that everyone is abandoning what they do - far from it - while publishers, devs and studios are honing and streamlining their core models there is a great sense of experimentation.
- Book publishers still create books - and now those stories can be fed into any platform.
- Game developers produces games - and are creating opportunities to build interactive experiences anywhere.
- Animation/TV creators bring worlds/stories to life on screen - and are seeing those stories come from everywhere.
The models aren’t just evolving - they’re becoming increasingly fluid, and that’s a seismic shift.