Global village aside, for a lot of publishers it just doesn't seem worth it to publish overseas. The costs, the logistics, the ins, the outs..
But consider China and India, the growth engines of the world with a 10% growth per year. With multi-trillion dollar economies, they are growing at such a rate that they add an economy the size of the UK's every five years. China is the third largest consumer of luxury goods in the world, after the US and Japan, and India, with an economy a quarter the size of China's, is poised to catch up in twelve years. Those of us who wish we had entered the Chinese market in 1998 would be well advised to look to India now.
So there's clearly opportunity there; but even aside from the potential for circulation and advertising sales, looking outside the somewhat-homogenous US-based publishing community offers inspiration and ideas. 3D covers, magazines covered in crystal, issues so thick they need to be printed and distributed in two sections--we as an industry have learned from our publishing peers overseas in the past and there is much to learn still.
This morning at the Yale Publishing Course, Professor K Sudhir of Yale School of Management and Duncan Edwards of Hearst Magazines International are here to walk us through the perils and profits of publishing internationally.
Strategies for moving into markets overseas are licensing the product, creating joint ventures, and going it alone, the investment and risk required increasing along with potential reward. There are certainly pitfalls, but good partnerships, and good research, will help to navigate them. One of the most important things to remember when creating overseas partnerships is the local voice. The use of local language, local voice, and the respect for local editors, is important; consumers catch it quickly if you're tone deaf to local culture and it can destroy your credibility in the market.
Digital distribution also represents a great opportunity; where in the US such distribution is seen as taking away from a print audience, in other markets that isn't the case; the new readers are incremental. Edwards emphasized the paid digital distribution of products as opposed to investing in free content on websites. That's over and done; there just isn't money for it anymore.
But international publishing and distribution do provide opportunities for sales of content and advertising space, and a publisher with the right product and resources is wise to explore those opportunities.