Brisbane-based publisher and distributor Manaccom has broken into the worldwide software market, signing a mutual agreement with US publishing company Software Abroad to distribute Manaccom titles throughout the USA, Europe and the UK.
The deal, which could potentially represent millions of dollars for the company, will see Australian software titles on the shelves of American retailers such as CompUSA, Frys, Staples, OfficeMax and Office Depot. It will be marketed by Software Abroad under the Centurion Soft brand. In return, Manaccom will re-publish and distribute Software Abroad titles throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Australian titles such as Music Works and Share Profit could be seen on retail shelves as early as June.
This is the largest International deal for Manaccom in its 15 history according to business development manager James Mackay, because it allows the company to break into overseas markets without the prohibitive set-up costs. It also allows the company an opening into the lucrative US market - a hard nut to crack at the best of times.
"Basically, we have got no chance in hell of setting up an office [in the US] at this stage", he said. "This is the best route to getting into the US market."
The size of the US market means capturing just a fraction of the retail market can mean big profits.
"For example Music Works has been out in Australia for five or six years, so it has 100 per cent penetration in all stores," Mackay explained. "But with the size of the US market, if we get into just three per cent of stores, it is already a lot more than the market here."
Only a handful of Australian software titles have managed to make the mark on the US retail market. The biggest benefit of the Manaccom deal is being able to increase the presence of Australian software overseas, Mackay said.
Manaccom is aiming to release around 50 to 100 Software Abroad titles in Australia over the next couple of years. It will be a relatively slow infiltration.
"One reason is because the market can't absorb the influx, but also because we can't make the software fast enough. So we are aiming to introduce three to four titles a month, and they [Software Abroad] are aiming for the same."
Software Abroad may also look at developing language-based changes to software so as to market it through European countries, although this has yet to be decided.