Transcript: StoryDrive Coming to Singapore

StoryDrive Asia 2017 Preview

with Claudia Kaiser, Frankfurt Book Fair & Andrea Pasion-Flores, Anvil Publishing (Manila)

KENNEALLY: Including such nations as Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Southeast Asia is a dynamic region of expanding economies and growing young populations. Smartphone proliferation has whetted appetites for media of all flavors, including book publishing.

Welcome to Copyright Clearance Center’s podcast series. I’m Christopher Kenneally for Beyond the Book. In Singapore, on November 13th and 14th, the StoryDrive Asia Conference unites established players from the book, games, and film worlds with innovators and entrepreneurs from across Southeast Asia. The program’s developer is Claudia Kaiser, who joins me today from her office at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, where she is vice president. Welcome to Beyond the Book, Claudia.

KAISER: Hi, Chris. Thanks a lot for inviting me.

KENNEALLY: We’re looking forward to chatting with you about this program, which takes place in Singapore, as we said, in just a couple of weeks’ time – November 13th and 14th. It’s a focus on a part of the world that, as I say, is developing very quickly with a young population that is looking for all sorts of content. And needless to say, the people attending the conference are ready to provide it for them. You’re working in partnership with the Singapore Book Publishers Association. Tell us about that. Singapore, of course, is very famous as a city-state, a small nation with an outsized influence in that region.

KAISER: Yeah, Chris, that’s right. We’re working very closely with the Singapore Book Publishers Association, and I should also say that we at the Frankfurt Book Fair have started a few years ago to focus on Southeast Asia. As you probably know, we always have a guest of honor country at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In 2015, Indonesia was the first guest of honor country from Southeast Asia. And since then, we’ve been developing and looking into the markets, trying to get more information, because we really did not know much about these markets.

Singapore, as we all know, is a hub in the region. It’s a very developed marketplace. Infrastructure is wonderful. And the Singapore Book Publishers Association is a very active association. So a few years ago, when we started looking more into Southeast Asia and we saw that a lot of publishers and other exhibitors or potential exhibitors in Frankfurt were actually not coming, we thought, let’s see what is happening in this part of the world. As a hub, Singapore would be a great place to have another event that would provide the knowledge and the exchange, the networks to that region. And of course, everybody unites in Singapore.

KENNEALLY: Well, indeed. The members of the Singapore Book Publishers Association, I would imagine, are predominantly in the trade business. But as I understand, Singapore is a hub for education publishing and ed tech publishing as well.

KAISER: That’s true, so it’s all there. As you know, Singapore is a small city-state, as you mentioned earlier, and therefore the publishing industry is not that huge. However, people come to Singapore to network and exchange knowledge and also exchange rights, so it’s a perfect hub also for the publishing industry and of course also the educational industries.

KENNEALLY: Now, you’re someone, Claudia, who has experience working across Asia as well as with the Frankfurt Book Fair. Getting your arms around such a vast area as Southeast Asia – that must be a challenge for you – a fascinating challenge nevertheless, but still a challenge, because you’re ranging across thousands of miles and across many different cultures and languages.

KAISER: That’s true. As you said, I’ve lived in China for many years. I’m a sinologist, so I’ve always been very interested in that part of the world. Yeah, it takes some effort, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the region, particularly in Indonesia, but all over these countries. And we do events. We do training programs in Vietnam and Malaysia and Indonesia and the Philippines and other conferences as well. So we have a good part of the knowledge about the industry there for now.

KENNEALLY: To someone who is unfamiliar at least in business matters with Southeast Asia, but may be considering looking into it and possibly entering a market or markets there, give us an idea of the atmosphere right now. I mentioned the population is a fairly young population. Some of the largest – or I should say the most populous – nations in the world are there, so there’s plenty of potentially new customers for publishers and media companies of all kinds. What’s the atmosphere in that particular sector?

KAISER: Well, I would say, as you mentioned earlier, we’re not only talking about publishing. We’re talking about content. You mentioned the young population in the countries – most of the countries of Southeast Asia. We might also want to add that there about 630 million people and, as you said, young population – a growing middle class. People are hungry for knowledge, are hungry for technology-based things and stuff. Smartphone – as you also mentioned earlier, everyone has several smartphones. So there is – it’s a very dynamic and vibrant atmosphere all over the continent, so to speak. Of course, film, games industries are growing, especially in Indonesia, but also Vietnam and also the Philippines.

Some of the countries have now created new ministries or institutions that focus on the creative industries. For instance, in Indonesia, we have something like a ministry or institute for creative economy, which focuses on creating these or developing these sectors. So I think it’s a very vibrant industry.

KENNEALLY: One of the things that is really special about StoryDrive Asia is it’s a conference, so there are presentations – the kinds of presentations that people who attend the Frankfurt Book Fair might expect, including, I should add, my colleague Michael Healy, who is the executive director of international relations for Copyright Clearance Center. He’ll be managing something called the Big Debate on Copyright, and he’ll be joined by Peter Schoppert, who is with a leading publisher there in Singapore. Another of the conference speakers tells us what she’s hoping to hear.

PASION-FLORES: Hi, I’m Andrea Pasion-Flores of Anvil Publishing. I’m going to StoryDrive Asia this year because looking at StoryDrive’s program tells me that it’s a conference to help those in the business of telling stories. SouthEast Asia is a large, diverse and underserved market. We want to meet more people within the region to find ways to expand our businesses in the many markets within the ten-member countries of the ASEAN. And StoryDrive certainly provides the opportunity to do that.

KENNEALLY: Claudia Kaiser, what interested me was the efforts you’re making to bring the two worlds together – the established players with the innovators. There’s a number of different approaches and workshops and some other innovative ways you’re planning on doing that. Tell us about that.

KAISER: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve done some research, and as, of course, we all know, Frankfurt Book Fair is focusing on content rather than on books, even though we’re still called book fair. So we looked at the different activities that are already happening in Singapore. And you can imagine Singapore has a very, very vibrant MICE industry – so a lot of conferences, lots of fairs. But what we see is that you have a television forum, let’s say, but no publishers. You have a selling book fair – no rights business. So to integrate the different industries and to create new opportunities for rights owners is something that’s missing and is something that we are working on all across the world – also in the Frankfurt Book Fair, of course.

So here it’s a perfect opportunity to bring knowledge and experience to publishers, authors, translators who want to make the best out of their content. And we have trainings. We have a session about podcasts in China or information services in China that is quite a new development. We have pitchings. We talk about how to bring your content to the film industry. We talk about games. We talk about illustrations. And we have a lot of different formats. We have, as you mentioned earlier, a big debate with lots of participants, but we also have keynote speeches. We have trainings. We have workshops. So it’s a whole range of formats and topics.

KENNEALLY: Well, indeed it is. It’s a lot to get in in just two days, but you’ll be doing that coming up in Singapore on November 13th and 14th at the StoryDrive Asia Conference. We have been speaking with the program’s developer. She is vice president at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Claudia Kaiser, thank you so much for joining us on Beyond the Book.

KAISER: Chris, thanks so much for having me.

KENNEALLY: Beyond the Book is produced by Copyright Clearance Center, a global leader in content management, discovery, and document delivery solutions. Through its relationships with those who use and create content, CCC and its subsidiaries RightsDirect and Ixxus drive market-based solutions that accelerate knowledge, power publishing, and advance copyright.

Beyond the Book co-producer and recording engineer is Jeremy Brieske of Burst Marketing. I’m Christopher Kenneally. Join us again soon on Beyond the Book.

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