Jenny Kuehne introduces the Frankfurt Rights Meeting, which has been shedding light on new markets, trends, opportunities and challenges for over 30 years.

In a recent interview, Richard Charkin, former president of the International Publishers Association and current executive director of Bloomsbury Publishing, claimed that even though it was a well-known fact that change was a new constant, the whole publishing industry was still utterly unprepared when a key turning point actually arrived. But is this true of the whole industry? I would argue there is that one small village of indomitable Gauls – the rights departments and literary agencies – that is still holding out. This is probably where the comparison ends though, since, unlike Asterix and Obelix, rights managers are ahead of the changes much more than resisting them (and not all change could or should be compared to the invading Romans!). Above all, the job of anyone working in the rights business is to keep an eye on the international market, to recognise the manifold developments around the globe and, last but certainly not least, to understand how to make the most of any changes on the horizon.

The drive to anticipate and understand the international (rights) markets is also what’s at the core of the Frankfurt Rights Meeting (FRM). Formerly known as the International Rights Directors Meeting, the conference has been shedding light on new markets, trends, opportunities and challenges for over 30 years, uniting and connecting the international rights community once a year.

Incidentally, the overarching motto of this year’s edition is “Change is the new constant”. Under this umbrella, the meeting will look at topics and markets that might not seem all that new but which have undergone decisive changes in the last few years, warranting another close look: the Japanese market, the audio segment and the influence on Social Media on the rights business.

While Japan is (still) a strong rights market, many rights sellers are sensing it has changed quite decisively, albeit being unable to lay a finger on where exactly the market is headed – nor where it has come from. Because most of the sales into Japan are negotiated by agencies, the market remains a slightly mysterious one to understand. The FRM aims to find out what is really happening in Japan and, more importantly, which changes still lie ahead for it. As well as a session packed with market facts and figures, a panel discussion with Japanese editors will take a close look behind the scenes.

These days Audio means big business. The developments in this segment are as significant as they are global. From the still nascent audio market in China to the brisk German one, all experimenting with new forms of exploitation, the FRM will provide an overview of the international audio markets and identify growth opportunities for publishers and rights sellers alike.

Social Media has revolutionised the way we interact as individuals and has long been a tool for publishers to market directly to their readers. But what about the rights market? Have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat etc also changed the way we could – and should – sell rights? Find out at the FRM, where an acquiring editor and a literary agent share which tools they use to find and sell translation rights. And please use the hashtag #frm2017!

jennyIn the spirit of the motto, the format of the conference has also been slightly changed: two hours of presentations – full of facts, figures and insights – will be followed by round table sessions, where attendees can join the speakers to discuss their topics in more detail and widen their international network. By devoting time to smaller group discussions, we hope that attendees will get a better opportunity to get answers to any specific questions they may have. But, because old is sometimes still gold, and because there must be an exception to the rules of change, our networking cocktail reception right after the conference remains in place, allowing participants to reflect on the conference and chat over a glass of wine. We look forward to seeing you there!

The Frankfurt Rights Meeting takes place on October 10, 2017, from 2-5pm in Hall 4.0, room Europa. The Copyright Clearance Center is the official Premium Partner of the Frankfurt Rights Meetings, IPR License is an official partner of the conference, and BookBrunch is the media partner for the event. More details on the programme and speakers, as well as the ticket shop, can be accessed via: www.book-fair.com/rights-meeting.

Jenny Kuehne is rights & licensing manager, Frankfurt Book Fair.

This piece first appeared on BookBrunch, the official media partner of the Frankfurt Rights Meeting.