We have an app that was received really well—Wonders of the Universe—and we're now developing a second brand, which has just launched, Wonders of Life. That was an example where the first product did well, so we created a similar kind of content on a similar platform so that we can continue to learn and leverage the consumer base that we acquired from the first app. It is important to think of the platform rather than the individual product. How much are we building something that we can repeat and use that platform for continued content feeds?
What are some of the biggest challenges that trade publishers are facing right now?
I think the biggest challenge is really continuing to articulate to authors where we have value. I don't think that the industry is good at articulating where that value is being created. Just in my role, we have people who do deals across multiple countries, multiple business models, trying to generate income and opportunities for our authors. If an author was to focus on that, I don't know when he would find the time to write.
Another business area [authors can benefit from] is consumer insights. I don't think if you are an individual author, no matter how great your traction pool is, you can actually raise a volume of data that a publisher at scale can do. The knowledge that you have will always be more limited and more narrowly focused than what someone with a broader reach can give you.
The analogy I draw is with my agency world. The agencies were meant to be the intermediary. When Google appeared, people thought all advertising would go direct to Google. The reality is Google tried, and it didn't work, and PNG still goes to an agency first because what the agency provides is so much more complicated. Google is only one channel; search is only one channel. And you have so many different elements of what it means to work in the digital world.
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