Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Familiar Faces Make Their Way To Frankfurt

What do Angry Birds, Harry Potter, and Shrek have in common? Professional contributors who will be speaking at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. Publishing Perspectives Founder Edward Nawotka explains:

Ed Nawotka

“Does Angry Birds – what must surely be the most addictive app of all time – have a story? Indeed it does: the birds have had their eggs stolen by pigs and they want revenge. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, this simple “story” has generated some 350 million downloads since the game’s launch in December 2009 – 150 million of those since June – with users spending more than 300 million minutes playing the game each day.

Sanna Lukander of the parent company of Angry Birds, Rovio Entertainment, will be offering insight into the phenomenon on Wednesday, October 12, on the first day of three days of scheduled lectures from some of digital media’s finest thinkers.

Lukander’s official title as vice president of Book Publishing, suggests that Rovio has ambitions beyond mere downloads. Already the company developed a cross-promotion with the film industry, producing a tie-in app for the film “Rio” in partnership with film studio 20th Century Fox, which was initially released exclusively via the app store. There are already licensed card games and toys; and with the acquisition of its own animation studio earlier this year, an in-house produced movie looks likely.

Can books be far behind?

What’s clear from all this cross-platform production is that no story is limited to a single delivery format; stories remain universal, no matter the medium in which they are presented.

Increasingly for the Frankfurt Book Fair that means bringing together content producers and storytellers of all kinds for interaction. The introduction in 2010 of StoryDrive acknowledged that content is the new currency in the global marketplace. The project, which is now part of the newFrankfurt Academy, brings together games developers, filmmakers and producers, app developers, and book publishers – into a two-day conference track (12 and 13 October).

Among those being featured are two individuals involved with some of the top grossing media properties of all time. David Heyman, producer of the Harry Potter films – this summer’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” has taken in $1.15 bn globally, putting it at #3 on the all time earnings chart (behind “Avatar” and “Titanic”) will share his insights – and is likely to have something interesting to say about author J.K. Rowling’s own foray into digital online media, Pottermore, which is due to launch around the time of the Fair.

Speakers at StoryDrive 2011 also include Hollywood actor Rupert Everett, gamification expert Gabe Zichermann, composer Chris Huelsbeck, game producer Matias Myllyrinne, and film financer Christian Solomon among others.

Of course, content may be the new global currency, but you still need cash to make things happen. That’s why Frankfurt StoryDrive / SPARKS is also offering several presentations with those responsible for financing, including Paul Brett from the UK, one of the people responsible for ensuring that “The King’s Speech,” – the 2011 Oscar-winning Best Picture – made it to screen.

After all, what does any media property begin with – be it a game, a movie, or an interactive app – but a story. And where do so many stories start? With books.”


by Ed Nawotka

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