Global competition and the pressure on revenues are pushing media companies to produce more exclusive content than ever. This comes at a cost that has to be balanced with new revenues. Licensing rights for other countries, markets or platforms to third parties is one of the possible revenue generators.
Supporting the whole process of (sub)licensing content to third parties for specific markets or platforms
Global to local, local to global
Having a proper rights management system and procedures in place enables media companies to invert what was traditionally a top-down, global-to-local big-deal business. A nice example is what happened with Spanish heist crime television series ‘La Casa de Papel’.
It was produced for television channel Antena 3 (Atresmedia) in Spain, without any intention to distribute it elsewhere. After Netflix acquired global streaming rights in late 2017 it soon became the most-watched non-English language series worldwide.
A local broadcaster can finance expensive productions this way. But to distribute content to the world, you need to show that you have the rights to do so. These rights include rights for media, authors, creators, … All these rights have been negotiated upfront, before the production of the programme started, which means that all of these people have given their agreement for broadcasts in, say, Spain, not for broadcasts in other parts of the world. This means you need to negotiate again with every party and agree on a revenue redistribution. In order to finalize a deal, a music piece might require additional clearing or additional subtitles need to be produced. You need to keep track of all this work to avoid that the deal is jeopardized because crucial steps have been skipped. Also, you need to make sure that the price you negotiate covers all of the costs and fees.
Centralizing scattered information
This process is cumbersome and time-consuming because information is scattered over many places in Excel sheets, Word files, paper documents or the schedules, if it hasn’t gone missing at some production facility. Time and time again you find yourself copying data from one system to another. And with so many rights holders involved how can you be sure you have cleared all rights? And how can you detect which titles are even available for selling? Above all, you want to avoid legal issues and penalties. Keeping a clear view on costs, following up on tasks, dealing with complex revenue distribution calculations … it is all so time-consuming and error-prone. Losing track of communications around proposals, deals and sales you are left with the feeling you could make more and better deals if only the information was consolidated in a central place.
Plug-in web app for sales
Here is where the power of a real-time available rights catalogue comes into play. If this central catalogue also specifies which specific rights are available for selling, the sales team can tap into that catalogue with an easy-to-use web app. This way the sales team can select titles in the catalogue with a clear view of those distribution rights, make a proposal to the market — or at the request of a potential customer — and come to an agreement on licence rights, conditions and pricing. As the offer converts into a deal, additional information about the proposal is stored and throughout this entire workflow the data about what exactly is being sold is captured in the licence right. Such a sales web app can offer support for all actions to be performed — clearing rights with actors, archives, rights owners, finalizing the deal with a deal memo document — as well as for managing costs and revenue distribution to the various parties involved. If this setup is plugged into the wider content supply chain ecosystem, all of this information can be seamlessly synchronized across departments. If a deal stipulates new exclusivity provisions, for instance, the scheduling department will know whether changes need to be made to the schedule. They will also be kept up to date on any upcoming changes.
Rights Out, the web app MEDIAGENIX developed for this purpose, supports the whole process of (sub)licensing content to third parties for specific countries, markets or platforms. It enables sales officers to efficiently identify sales opportunities, plan sales, clear rights, draw up deals, orchestrate and follow up on tasks, and calculate and manage revenue distribution. At all times the sales officers are warned about conflicts with their company’s exploitation rights, with rights that have been sold exclusively, and holdbacks. Cutting through complexity and eliminating time-consuming and error-prone chores, they find more time to close more and better deals, which optimizes a welcome revenue stream for the company. With real-time information shared across acquisition, scheduling, finance and sales departments, the ecosystem this web app plugs into, enables all departments involved to work in perfect synch with one source of truth. Costs are reduced and monetization is optimized as they jointly manage the circle of content life.
Do you share this vision on rights management? What is your vision? What are your challenges and ambitions? Let’s talk.