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Old 03-25-2014, 10:23 AM
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Question News stringers licensing of valuable news footage question.

I have a question for video stringers out there involving who/how to handle footage that you know is "must-broadcast" material.

This weekend there was a incident involving a Police shooting and the question came to me, what if you come upon the scene early on and got breaking footage nobody else could get before all the news trucks and Police backup arrived?

I've been reading a lot lately from guys that have been doing this while discussing how to handle the selling of content with contract stipulations as to how it's used. Just selling something like this to the first local station might be a bad move without telling them where it can be shown, how many times, etc... reasoning being of the great chance it'll be used nationally, perhaps later it's needed again, etc etc.
Selling it like a normal story, they may just send it off to their affiliates and you never see more then the $85 you let it go for and now being on every nightly news and now dateline NBC wants to use it for a special. Or do you give the early footage to a station to supplement they coverage they're now getting with the loose understanding maybe they put you on the short list when they need freelancers?

I think you see where I'm going with this. Major content you know will go at least National, only you have it. How do you correctly maximize it compared to just some story of local-only interest?
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:31 PM
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eek, just noticed this is a dead forum and site.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USMCMatt View Post
eek, just noticed this is a dead forum and site.
Not dead. What made you think that? And $85???? What decade or market are you from???
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:09 PM
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The 4th post in the forum is from January 2012, this post is the first one of this year... and it's almost April. I'm pretty sure this is a dead forum.
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:45 PM
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USMC Matt,

On the forum:
Not dead yet, rampant lurking.

On Stringers:
85.00 is about right for a la carte local news here in Miami as well. The stations have negotiated rates with each stringer for assigned stories by day, half day, and series. If the stringer is huckstering something the locals missed it's 85 or even as low as 35. There are times they will drop the price so the video hits the wider market place and then they can sell to more interested parties.

A local stringer rolled on 22 seconds of a 28 second firefight a year or so ago. All the locals paid their usual fee, and then everyone else paid new fees. He made good money that day.
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Old 04-02-2014, 05:47 PM
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There should be a few threads about payouts to stations.

$85 bucks seems to be the right amount.
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:03 AM
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$85! You are also in competition with everyone with a cell phone who gives it away for free. Stringing in my neck of the woods have pretty much dried up since stations are content with "CRAPPY" cell phone vids. Plus it's free!!
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:32 PM
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I think it depends on what you have. I captured the below video on my way to take my dog to the dog park. Plane flew over us low and was dumping fuel so I grabbed the camera. I was the only person in Dallas to capture footage. The plane was dumping fuel to make an emergency landing. Everyone contacted me. I offered it for $250 but that was only for on-air use (no web) and the stations could not share the footage with other affiliates or the network. For $500 they could use it however they wanted but would not have exclusive rights. If they wanted exclusive rights it was $1500. I ended up selling it to NBC and ABC for $500. The other stations wanted it but said "we don't pay for video" to which I said "you don't get it then". The local NBC station in Dallas used it at 5,6, & 10. ABC bought it for Good Morning America. CNN wanted it but wouldn't pay $500 for it.

You really need to think about selling footage to the networks and the potential that it will get shared with multiple other stations. To me, I'll sell it for a reasonable price if they are the only ones using it and its on-air only but if its going on the web or to stations across the country, they need to pay a big price for it. Again, it really depends on what you have too. I've also stopped selling footage to news outlets on "their terms" as well. It took me 8 months to get paid by NBC for the below video. No more. I send them a link to my paypal and they can pay before I FTP. I don't care how they do it. A producer can use a personal credit card and expense it for all I care. Waiting more than 30 days is ridiculous. If they want it bad enough and you are the only one with it, they'll pay it. People who give way video for free, even cell phone video, are crazy in my opinion.

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Old 04-08-2014, 05:34 PM
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The first and most important thing you need to learn about are the sharing relationships between the networks, affiliates and other platforms across the country because you can potentially lose alot money if you don't. You'd be surprised who's sharing with who. After becoming aware of this, it became standard procedure for me to hit Google with searches for my video to see where it popped up and who was using it. I sold some video to a tv network and saw it on a newspaper's website hours later. After doing some checking, it was discovered that they were included in a bundle of sharing partners with that network. So be sure to follow up and if you catch someone not with an approved sharing partner, take a screenshot and send them an invoice, due upon receipt.

My experience has been, the more complicated you make the usage of the content, the more likely they will pass. You have to become a good negotiator knowing when to stand your ground and knowing when to make exceptions because sometimes making some money is alot better than no money. Sometimes I feel like a trader on the exchange floor. I've tried to hold out and have actually had a buyer say to me, going, going . . . . . . go....ing. It was a friendly conversation but they were serious about being firm because they just have too many other choices with all the other stories and free content now available. However, if they ever call you for content, then you may have more negotiating leverage.

As others have said, it also depends on your market size, how hot and unique the content is, if they're light on content that day and your proximity to your target market because the further away you are, the better your chances of securing something exclusive. I've had some really good paydays, as much as $1600 on one piece of video, from a mixture of local and multi-network sells and just multi-network sells with no local. Of course, when it's just network, a local embargo is critical in case they try to wait to get it for free from their parent net or buying partner. When selling to networks, be sure to get an embargo on your local market because the local freeloading cheapasses will try to get it for free, even after they tell you they're not interested in the video, yeah, not interested in paying for it. That has happened to me one time . . . . . . once.

For me, shooting news is part-time fill-in work. I come from the production world with flat rates for labor of at least $5 - $700 with the expectation of working a full 10-12 hr day with OT after 10 or 12, whichever is agreed on and the gear is extra as needed. That scenario will never be accepted or even considered when shooting spot news. When I first started shooting news I heard silence and got laughed at when I told them it would cost them $8 -$900 for some spot news. But I also laughed at some assignment editors and ND's when they said I'd be lucky to get $75. Yes, there were some epic, interesting, colorful and intense conversations that took place. I think both sides were intrigued by the other's absurd expectations because neither fully understood the other's world at the time. Just know this, they will test you. I'll never forget going back and forth through e-mail arguing over adding $50 to an offered amount to meet my bottom line before shooting some video they really wanted. I won and from that point on, there was no more negotiating. I got my flat rate for spot news or I didn't do it. Though rarely needed, I also got paid a reduced rate for go-sees and door-knocks whether I got any video or not because of my time and gas usage. But if I was close by or at a scene, there was no charge for those two tasks. Unlike most, that ND actually wanted to be competitive with other stations in that market and those were some of the costs to get it done. It wasn't personal, he moved on and we still talk today.

What I found is, they weren't necessarily being insulting, they actually did not know anything about the production side's rates and I got a dose of reality about the rates for local news. Years ago, the most I ever made with local news video was $300 per video a few times but thoses were exceptions with most other pieces ranging from $150 - $225 - $250. Years ago, CNN and NNS would pay as much as $400 for a non-exclusive piece of video. They both currently pay around $250 - $350 for non-exclusive video that fits their needs with exceptions for unique or exclusive content.

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Originally Posted by svp View Post
. . . Plane flew over us low and was dumping fuel so I grabbed the camera. I was the only person in Dallas to capture footage. . . .
You were the only one? That's a bold statement and assumption. How can you be so sure? That event lasted long enough and because of its altitude was visible for any number of people to grab a camera and shoot some stills or some video. You may have been the only one in your immediate visual range on the ground but there's no way you could absolutely know if you were the only one to record it. Just because nobody else offered it to the vultures, does not mean nobody else recorded it. I learned along time ago to not assume I am the only one. There's also security cameras that could have captured it.

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Originally Posted by svp View Post
. . . I offered it for $250 but that was only for on-air use (no web) and the stations could not share the footage with other affiliates or the network. . . .
I totally agree with controlling your content's distribution but that content just doesn't seem to be something that was so unique that you could make those kind of terms appealing. But if you were able to pull it off, more power to you. In the beginning, when I asked about specific usage of my content, I was told you can try but the more complex you make the agreement process the more likely they will walk away from it.

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. . .
The other stations wanted it but said "we don't pay for video" to which I said "you don't get it then". The local NBC station in Dallas used it at 5,6, & 10. ABC bought it for Good Morning America. CNN wanted it but wouldn't pay $500 for it. . . .
I have had that conversation too. They are so accustomed to it and have had so many people say yes, they don't quite know how to deal with us. They're just twirling their hair, popping their gum, checking their phones and looking at the clock and waiting for quittin' time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by svp View Post
. . . You really need to think about selling footage to the networks and the potential that it will get shared with multiple other stations. To me, I'll sell it for a reasonable price if they are the only ones using it and its on-air only but if its going on the web or to stations across the country, they need to pay a big price for it. Again, it really depends on what you have too. I've also stopped selling footage to news outlets on "their terms" as well. It took me 8 months to get paid by NBC for the below video. No more. I send them a link to my paypal and they can pay before I FTP. I don't care how they do it. A producer can use a personal credit card and expense it for all I care. Waiting more than 30 days is ridiculous. If they want it bad enough and you are the only one with it, they'll pay it. People who give way video for free, even cell phone video, are crazy in my opinion.
I think you know I agree with and support most of what you have said and you have described in better detail what I mentioned about the flow of content and sharing. But the part about not going by their payment terms, are they really saying, okay SVP, we'll pay on your terms, when and how you say? Once again, if you're able to pull that off, more power to you. But among others, there's one thing you should never do and that is to never irritate the payroll department.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:31 PM
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Well, if the same network or station needed a shot of stock footage and bought it from a website like Pond5, they'd have to pay immediately before downloading the footage. Why should stringers with timely breaking news footage be any different?
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:13 PM
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I agree. I wish instant payment was standard procedure and maybe it will be in the future. But for now, at least for me, it's on the clients' terms unless you have a unique agreement. Years ago, I had to wait past 90 days from a well known cable network because they were updating their payroll software. Since then, payment has usually been within two weeks of invoice submission as with most others. Do you like having to pay to get paid with the percentage charged for that payment processing service? It adds up.

Quote:
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. . . People who give way video for free, even cell phone video, are crazy in my opinion.
They're not crazy, they just don't know they can get paid for it. And for some, just the idea that it airs on a worldwide network is enough to satisfy them but the internet has changed that. I think CNN used to send a t-shirt for the use of submitted video.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:38 PM
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In light of this thread, see this since stations are probably going to point to it as why they won't pay for stringer footage.

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/t...-the-practice/

Over in Storytellers, they are equating paying someone for the rights to use their spot news footage in the same vein as paying someone for an interview.
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