Coronavirus Resources: Frankfurter Buchmesse’s The Arts+ Opens a Way for Publishers to Pitch Their IP

In News by Porter Anderson

As the pandemic narrows sales channels in publishing and other industries, Frankfurter Buchmesse’s The Arts+ offers a new forum for trading in film, television, games, and other creative content.

At Frankfurter Buchmesse’s The Arts+, which now is facilitating a new resource for publishers in rights and licensing. Image: FBM, Alexander Heimann

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Böhne: ‘Personal Encounters Are the Lifeblood’
Bringing together the cross-media drive of the creative industries with the matchmaking opportunities that publishing loses when many trade shows and book fairs can’t be held in the physical space, Frankfurter Buchmesse‘s The Arts+ program today (May 12) is announcing a new networking program.

“Pitch your CIP” is housed as a closed Facebook group. CIP stands for creative intellectual property, and users are expected to find it useful for trading in “ideas, concepts, texts, images, audio content,” and more. Meant as a B2B service, the new group is envisioned by organizers as an interactive forum for “co-productions, media adaptations, and rights and licensing sales.”

It’s hoped that the hub can develop to support trading in content, brands, rights, and licenses, much of which might otherwise be disrupted by the protracted pressures of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. What may be developing is a kind of bubble, a period of time unexpectedly enabled by the restrictions of the coronavirus emergency, in which publishing’s professionals can focus on advancing their presence in the world of content development without as many distractions of more traditional channels.

Katja Böhne

In a prepared statement for this morning’s announcement, Frankfurt’s marketing and communications chief, Katja Böhne, is quoted, saying, “It’s important that we join forces and develop new opportunities, especially now, when existing business routines are interrupted.

“There’s an opportunity to overcome the crisis as a community,” Böhne says, “and to launch consistent business models. Even though it remains unclear what our meeting in the autumn will look like in concrete terms, personal encounters—including those online—are the lifeblood of Frankfurter Buchmesse.”

Joining the Facebook group is the first step.

Media messaging this morning says the group is developed for content professionals and businesses looking to market or re-market their creative intellectual property—and for “rights managers; publishing experts; agents; film, television and games experts; business developers; IT specialists; investors; startup executives; ‘multipliers’ and ‘influencers.'”

The Facebook group is intended “to allow for moderated and guided dialogue between members,” according to Frankfurt’s commentary today.

Members, for example, might use a video about the IP they have available and post it to see what responses and interest it gathers. The intention, organizers say, “is not just to market creative content unilaterally but also to promote professional dialogue between all group members and the development of partnerships.”

Volland: ‘Now Is the Time To Make Deals’

What’s being stressed by Holger Volland, the vice-president of Buchmesse who founded The Arts+, is that the timing for an intensified deployment of intellectual property is peculiarly right. Especially at a time when the effects of the pandemic are suppressing book sales, themselves, what world publishing does have to offer is deals on its creative content.

Holger Volland. Image: Bernd Hartung

“Now is the time to make deals with your creative intellectual property,” Volland says. “We want to stoke enthusiasm for creative content and help it expand its reach.

“Dialogue with the other group members opens up opportunities for income because new businesses and cooperation can develop,” he says. “For example, an agent looking for new streaming content might find a fan fiction writer whose story idea is perfect for being adapted for film or television.”

Volland has more to say about the new offering in a short introductory video you’ll find on the Facebook group.

Frankfurter Buchmesse and The Arts+ for years have supported events in pitching book material that’s suitable for screen adaptation. Publishing Perspectives readers are very familiar, for example, with the Books at Berlinale program, and with the trade show’s conferences on book, film, and gaming adaptations.

“Dialogue with the other group members opens up opportunities for income because new businesses and cooperation can develop.”Holger Volland, The Arts+

And as recently as January, Frankfurter Buchmesse had planned to mount another of its tours to the Cannes Film Festival for six agents and/or publishers to present their titles and network in the film industry. As Elsa Keslassy is reporting at Variety, the Cannes operation appears to have ruled out a physical program this year, even for the autumn.

If publishing’s people can take advantage of the hopefully unique lull in normal business that’s being created by the COVID-19 emergency, they may emerge with a new footing in their sister creative industries’ development and production channels. Exploring the possibilities now could be important to a way forward. More information on the newly offered program is here.

About Buchmesse in October

Frankfurt’s October 14 to 18 edition continues to look likely to include both digital and physical elements, and Publishing Perspectives will keep readers informed of decisions as they’re made available. Likely timing of a sharper picture of this year’s fair is expected by early- to mid-June.

Our most recent information includes the fact that the German trade fair industry is in discussions in Berlin with regulators about the question of whether trade shows like Buchmesse are to be treated as folk festivals in questions of physical presentation.

However, as Mia Jankowicz reports today at Business Insider, the feared jump in coronavirus caseload appears to be occurring during these days of initial reopenings, a reported 933 new cases having been reported Tuesday (May 11), six days after the beginning of the openings. A federal system of states, Germany now sees various regions considering applying an “emergency brake” to the reopenings, triggered at a ratio of 50 cases per 100,000 people.

At this writing, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reports 4,171,859 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, with 285,690 deaths.

Image: FBM, The Arts+

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here. More from us on words to screens and book adaptation news is here and more on The Arts+ is here. And more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.