How to Survive a Pandemic, According to an Academic Publisher

From Publishers Weekly:

Like all businesses, Oxford University Press has responded rapidly to the changing market conditions and customer needs resulting from the Covid-19 crisis. The stages we’ve gone through will be recognizable by anyone in the sector: an initial rush to enable remote working, extensive financial scenario modelling, and then accelerating digital programs and sales in anticipation of a very different-looking post-pandemic world. It’s been demanding, but with lots of learning points along the way.

After reviewing the past four months of our activity and talking to colleagues at other houses about how they’ve responded, I recommend publishers and IP businesses take these five steps to stabilize their operations and position themselves for what comes next. Most of these are simply good business responses, but I hope they are helpful as a checklist.

1.Shorten your planning time horizon and carve out spare bandwidth. In publishing, planning horizons are generally 18–24 months. We’ve shifted ours to six. Which of your activities have the most immediate return? Could longer-term projects be put on hold? Carve out capacity (even if you’re not sure where to deploy it yet) by deciding what you can afford to stop. This shift in perspective will help you identify and redeploy resources to support short-term, opportunistic activities.

. . . .

4. Adopt a short-term omni-channel approach to exploiting your IP. Leaning more on licensing and digital sales distribution can generate fast, incremental income and yield new customers. We are often guilty of foregoing immediate sales because of a bigger potential sale down the line. But right now users want easy access to more digital content; they are more likely to select yours if it is available in the services and vendors they already use. If you’re holding off on activating indirect routes to market for your content to protect high-margin direct business, rethink that strategy. Consider experimenting with new aggregator relationships. Take more risks licensing your IP. It might be messy, but it will maximize short-term return when you need it most.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly