Is a royalty rate not simply money for old rope?

NHNZ Offices, Dowling Street, Dunedin, NZ.

A royalty rate is not simply icing on the cake, or money for old rope. It is a recognition that time and effort have been expended in acquiring the images in the first place. No matter how the images have been acquired - whether they are the result of productions that the company has made, or whether they are specially commissioned shoots for library purposes - they all need to be catalogued and stored. Each library will have its own techniques and methodologies and policies for maintaining the images, but it is the royalty rate negotiated separately with each client, which ultimately produces the income for libraries to staff and house the collections in adequate fashion.

The royalty rate at NHNZ is not picked off a one-size-fits-all ratecard. We like to know how the footage will be used, the context if you will. Will it be a major component of your production, or not? Are you making a television programme or an audio visual element for an exhibition - will this be regional or national? And such like questions.

We also like to know how much will be used - although we do bear in mind that at the start of a project this information is not known in any detail, and a glib "couple of minutes" can often reduce to under 30 seconds when push comes to shove and the final edit takes shape. Sometimes it is necessary for us to know which broadcaster is going to transmit the programme - in common with other libraries who acquire footage as a result of the production process, ours is often subjected to various co-production restrictions. We cannot, for instance sell footage acquired during a Discovery production to National Geographic and vice versa - they are after all major competitors in the same market. But the same material is available for use in an exhibition or corporate video.

At NHNZ Images we are flexible negotiators, and can accommodate varying styles of productions.