Downloadable or streaming?

The Royal Coat of Arms on the front of the NHNZ building, stems from the time it was built as a Garrison Hall in 1877, when Dunedin was first settled by Scottish immigrant.

In discussing and negotiating on-line rights often a distinction is made between streaming but not-downloadable, or streaming and downloadable. But hang on there, aren’t they really the same thing – at least in the sense that there is a mass audience paying for and watching content.

Does the mode of delivery of that content really matter?

Isn’t one of the key points of negotiating a price surely based on who will be watching and how many of them will there be?

The audience is king and queen.

This is certainly the view taken by ACSIL (Association of Commercial Stock Image Licensors) who recently launched a Licensing Grid, designed to ease the confusion around the pricing of royalties. As Jill Hawkins (ACSIL Executive Director ) says “there is no longer an old or new media, there is just media. Multiple delivery platforms have obscured the differences between definitions of markets and audiences and descriptions of technology. What we have lost sight of is the audience: who they are, where they are.” After a two year period of analysis the group presented its findings at the Real Screen Summit (February 2007), and concluded “at the outset that, for instance, renting a DVD is the same as PPV and On Demand. Each viewing is in the home for a fee. We put all forms of media through the same analysis. By the time we had reset all the elements of a typical license, the Licensing Grid was in place.”

This is a brave step forward in the right direction. At NHNZ Images, we have always taken the size of the audience as the prime focus of negotiations – coupled of course with territory and end-use. But having made a start with the footage industry where the reception of the Licensing Grid was apparently warmly received (I wasn't there but have listened to the podcasts). The people to convince now of the need for change are the broadcasters, distributors and producers. No small task!

I understand that when negotiating the rights for a complete programme, the producer their distributor, and the broadcaster may have different needs and requirements. This generates much vigorous talk about the various definitions surrounding the 'new media' (in quotes since it is hardly new any longer, it is upon the industry). Basically selling a right is just a way to slice up the cake so that each stakeholder (should that be cake-holder?) gets their fair share of any profit. Of course in some markets rights are traditionally sold exclusively – which is where much of the vigour of the discussion lies, and some sold non-exclusively. Library footage is always sold non-exclusively, which makes some of the issues that concern the entire programme fade into black.

NHNZ Images, will always license what you need, in the terms you require, but will try to diminish the amount of red-tape and jargon if we possibly can. So if your broadcaster insists on licensing a delivery format, we'll accommodate the your requirement without hassle. To misquote Tennyson ours not to reason why, ours but to do and sigh.