Wiley Exec Philip Kisray Explains Plans for Building Business in Brazil

“The plan is not to become a Brazilian publisher, but to be more proactive and improve our distribution, develop new products and sell more rights.”

Wiley started its Brazilian operations this May with the goal of developing three business areas. The company will put its efforts into developing digital products for for research, education and professional development, and hopes to  double its revenue in the country in the next four to five years. Wiley also plans to develop “strategic partnerships,” which does not rule out acquiring other companies, according to Philip Kisray, Wiley’s vice-president of international development.

During a recent visit to Wiley’s office in São Paulo, Kisray explained that the company’s aim is not to become a publisher of books in Portuguese. “We’ve had partnerships for a long time with publishers here, and the plan is not to become a Brazilian publisher, but to be more proactive and improve our distribution, develop new products and sell more rights.”

Philip Kisray recently visited Brazil in anticipation of Wiley entering the market. (Photo: Maria Kolosova, photographer and editor in Russian State Library)

Wiley studied the market for 18 months before it decided it was time to come to Brazil. “Wiley is more than 200 years old and was one of the first publishers to expand globally, but we never had anything in this part of the world, and now Brazil has become very important,” says Kirsay. The strong economy, the existence of important research communities and the demand for development in professional and post-secondary education contributed to the decision.

One of the first areas Wiley wants to strengthen is its relationship with CAPES, a governmental agency responsible for supporting research and post-graduate studies. Just last year, CAPES acquired R$133.2 million (US$ 66.6 million) in digital content to feed its Portal de Periódicos. The platform is one of the largest virtual libraries in the world, with 31,000 scientific journals and 150,000 e-books. It is currently Wiley’s largest customer in Brazil.

Kisray also wants to cooperate more closely with universities. “Our favorite model is to work directly with the university to develop customized products based on their curriculum.” Wiley also sees opportunities to offer digital content to large companies — “like OGX and Petrobras,” says Kisray, referencing an important mining concern and the national oil company.

In terms of professional development, Wiley wants to create distance/e-learning solutions in areas such as finance, accounting, medicine and engineering, depending on the needs of their clients, which may include companies, institutions and schools.

According to Kisray, the company is looking forward to making strategic partnerships, which could follow various models. “We could make alliances, we could acquire a company if it makes sense, or only sell content,” he says. “We are not here to make some money and leave. It is a much more humble approach than that. There is a lot to learn.”

According to Kisray, the plan is to double Brazilian revenues in “four or five years.” The company has not disclosed its current figures. Wiley’s office in São Paulo is managed by Business Director Hegel Braga, formerly an executive at 20th Century Fox Entertainment, and also IBM and Sony Music. The company also has two sales representatives, and expects to hire five managers by April 2013, depending on the pace of operations in Brazil.

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