What You Should Know
Key Factors to Consider
Whenever you create a video or commission the production of one, a variety of creative factors, usage rights and distribution methods must be considered to ensure accurate budgeting and to avoid any legal snafus. The three main categories that need to be evaluated up front to determine anticipated licensing fees are visual assets, music, and talent. Before examining these three areas, though, you need to ask yourself two important questions:
- Is my target audience inside or outside my organization (or both)?
- How will my audience view/consume this video?
After you have these two questions answered, you can start to figure out the usage rights and distribution methods that best fit your video’s needs. While every project is unique in its demands, we have outlined the basics you need to understand about video usage rights and distribution to make an informed decision about what is correct for you. Since our world typically consists of corporate/educational videos and consumer-facing web initiatives, we’ll focus on showcasing the primary characteristics and differences for producing these types of videos.
- Given that internal videos are only intended to inform, train and/or promote a product/service to a single company’s personnel via events, presentations, trainings, meetings, etc., they usually require the least amount of financial resources to produce. The costs associated with creating videos for this purpose (whether shooting original photo/videography and/or editing existing assets) are fairly standard and contain less variables than consumer-facing videos, making them easier, faster and cheaper to produce.
- Fees for stock music, photography, and videography will be lower than for videos intended to be viewed on a mass external scale.
- On-screen and voiceover talent (or their agency representative) will almost always charge less for internal-only projects, or at least be more willing to negotiate lower rates.
External Use (Non-Broadcast)
- If you’re intending to show the video externally in an “unrestricted” public environment such as consumer events, retail spaces/showrooms, tradeshows, conferences, etc., then a higher, usually more expensive standard will be applied to the usage and distribution rights of the video.
- Fees for stock music, photography and videography will almost certainly be more than compared to an internal-only video. However, since there are more variables at play with external-use videos, the cost increase might only be incremental, or it can significantly change the budget’s scope. For example, a stock video asset for an event with an anticipated attendance of only 250 people will yield a different price than an event expecting over a thousand guests. That’s why it’s crucial to determine your video’s desired target audience, viewing platform, and terminal objectives at the beginning of the project.
- As with other creative elements, the cost for talent will also likely increase for an external video initiative, but, again, the viewership quantity and end user experience for the video will determine how much of rate premium is needed.
- If you’re planning to share the video on your company’s website and/or streaming sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, etc., there are specific licenses and usage rights that need to be secured for these applications. Like external-use videos, these projects are held to a higher, generally more expensive distribution standard. Costs can also fluctuate depending on the anticipated size of your targeted audience. To be clear, though, a web/streaming content license is distinct from an external (non-broadcast) license, in that a web license can be a form of broadcast, which may impact the final costs quite a bit.
- With web/streaming videos, usage rights fees for stock music, photography, and videography are highly variable and dependent on the project scope. As with the other distribution types, there are several factors to consider, including the quality of the products you’re licensing. For a video that’s meant to be seen on your company’s website and/or YouTube channel, it might be worth investing in higher quality visual and audio assets.
- Costs for on-screen and voiceover talent can also vary more when it comes to videos only intended for web/streaming use. Based on the project scope and production schedule, rates can usually be negotiated directly with the talent (or agency rep).
Can I Combine License Types? Yes!
If you’re looking to create a video and distribute it across multiple channels, both internally and externally, then you can get usage rights that cover any or all the above formats. We highly recommend determining if you want to share the video in multiple places before securing the usage rights, so it’s possible to negotiate a “bundled rate” that takes into account all intended viewing scenarios. Generally, this is more cost-effective than buying individual licenses. For instance, you don’t want to license a song for internal use only, and then later need another license for web/streaming. If you’re not sure about the best method, consult with an experienced video production partner or directly with the artist/service whose assets you wish to license.