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Meet Bob Johns: Strengthening MMO Licensing at CLA

Picture of Bob Johns

My Journey into the Media Industry

In the 1990s, fresh out of college with a Media Degree, I eagerly sought opportunities in the media industry. Through a connection, I secured a position at Romeike & Curtice, a company boasting a legacy as the world’s oldest press-cutting bureau, tracing its roots back to 1854. My role was simple yet crucial. Meticulously scouring newspapers and magazines to extract mentions for clients eager to monitor their media presence. However, pinpointing these mentions, similar to a human Boolean search, fell outside my scope then, and I confess, I wasn’t particularly skilled at it. Occasionally, I assisted in the post room, ensuring the timely dispatch of bundles of press cuttings. This process has since been streamlined with digitisation, offering environmental benefits by reducing our carbon footprint. Though somewhat related to the media field, it wasn’t the role I had envisioned.

The Transformation of Media Monitoring

When Henry Romeike expanded his newsagents business to encompass press clippings, his clientele comprised of socialites, actors, and aristocrats seeking validation through media mentions. That initial job function had remained essentially unchanged since its inception in 1884. However, since the mid-’90s, the industry landscape has undergone a profound transformation, almost unrecognisable from those early days, and my time at Romeike marked the beginning of a three-decade journey through the industry, with stints at prominent names that still resonate today. Yet, the sector has evolved significantly; what was once a press-cutting industry has evolved into a global arena offering sophisticated insight and evaluation platforms, with media monitoring at its core, but without the need for scissors and glue.

The Impact of CLA on Creators and Publishers

Earlier this year, after a decade at the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA), I transitioned to CLA, eliciting light-hearted remarks about merely changing a letter on my CV. However, licensing is a weighty affair, ensuring equitable compensation for key creatives—authors, publishers, and visual artists—in an increasingly complex environment. Over four decades, CLA has generated over £1.5 billion in licence revenues, benefiting over 200,000 publishers and content creators. My role revolves around the media intelligence sector, fostering collaborative relationships with newcomers and seasoned colleagues to support them and their organisations to act responsibly and Copy, Right. Finding pragmatic solutions to challenges remains a priority; navigating copyright intricacies requires expertise, an area where my experience in licensing proves invaluable.

Embracing Change in a Rapidly Evolving Landscape

By consolidating thousands of publisher agreements into a single licence, CLA has liberated the media intelligence sector (MMO & MI), allowing professionals to focus on enhancing client offerings rather than negotiating individual deals. I’m here to listen— to ensure adaptability, as it is essential in a landscape characterised by rapid technological advancements. Over the past year, AI has permeated countless discussions, presenting opportunities and hurdles. Through my connections in the media intelligence sector, I aim for CLA to serve as a valuable ally in navigating this evolving landscape.

Safeguarding copyright and the creative Ecosystem

The significance of the CLA MMO and MI licence is in its ability to empower businesses to concentrate on their core strengths while maintaining strict adherence to copyright law and avoiding potential legal risks. With a CLA licence, media intelligence businesses can innovate confidently, knowing that we serve as facilitators, safeguarding their interests and the vitality of the media sector and creative ecosystem.

Enquire now

If you’d like to enquire about a MMO and MI Licence, you can use the form below. Alternatively, you can contact our team on 0204 5120096 or

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Whether you’re seeking clarification on licence use or want to discuss licence options, we look forward to hearing from you.