Case Study Lesson: Low-Risk Growth Through Content Licensing

For this week’s Subscription Site Insider Case Study we interviewed David Foster, CEO of Business Valuation Resources, for a in-depth look at how the company has tripled revenues by diversifying its product mix and target audiences.One of the secrets of BVR’s growth strategy: Licensing other people’s content. Foster explained that licensed content now accounts for 35% of annual revenues.Although he was initially wary of content licensing, he’s come to see the practice as a low-cost, low-risk way to diversify your product mix and grow an online publishing company.BVR looks for content providers who can complement their mix of proprietary online databases, ebooks, webinars and other resources related to the business valuation process. For example, they partner with FactSet and BizMiner to resell subscriptions to those companies’ online databases directly from the BVR site.BVR also uses their online publishing expertise to find partners who need help bringing new content to market. For example, BVR works with academics to publish new textbooks on business valuation topics.They then sell those books in their online store, but also pull out chapters that can be combined with other BVR content to create entirely new products — maximizing the revenue from all content to which they hold the rights.To create good licensing partnerships, Foster recommends being generous with your terms. BVR typically gives the content creator 50% of the subscription fee or product sale price. And both companies receive buyers’ names and contact information for future marketing outreach.So take a closer look around your own industry — and related niches — for potential content licensing partners. You might find a similar avenue to low-cost, low-risk growth.

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