Partners’ Corner is a place where the principals of Market Partners International can share their observations of the publishing industry for the month.
For the past few months, we’ve been planning for DBW’s Launch Kids conference (presented by Publishers Launch on January 13, 2014 at The Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers), which we’ve helped organize since its inception. Now in its third year, we’ve learned a lot from past iterations, finding some truly standout speakers and touching on important issues in topics like licensing, marketing and creating original IP. Every year, we are met with the inevitable changes in the industry: startups that we host one year have completely changed direction by the next, or past speakers have since moved positions/companies – sometimes industries. Still, we always are looking to find what the big issues are in the children’s publishing market and to draw out connections, if not solutions, that will be helpful to publishers.
Our goal with this upcoming conference from the start was to expand our focus to find the latest trends in the children’s market. What can publishers learn from other types of media? What can trade publishers learn from the educational market? What can US publishers learn from international markets? Are we ready for mobile? Is social media really a panacea for disappearing retail promotion?
The more we explore these topics, the more we see an industry that is becoming more flexible, or at least is trying to evaluate how flexible it can be. Publishers like Pearson are exploring partnerships with schools to gamify learning in a way that responds to teachers’ needs. Kids are connecting with books through a variety of channels, whether by engaging with social media platforms that are built into publishers’ sites or via new players like KidzVuz or Biblionasium. And meanwhile, publishers continue to create and flexibly exploit their own IP like Poptropica’s Galactic Hot Dogs.
With all the changes and innovation in the industry, it seems partnerships and connections are more important than ever. While not all publishers can be quite as agile as new players and new players do not always have the traction or staying power as established publishers, there is a lot they can learn from one another.
If you have a topic in children’s digital media that you think we should explore, please let us know.