August 4, 2008

Celebrity Agents Missing Out On Income – Allowing Paparazzi To Promote Their Stars Rather Than Monetizing Package Effectively

With the advent of blogs and websites, publicity and talent agents can take a more active role in marketing and managing their clients. But sadly some of them may be missing out. Rather than making photos readily available of their stars, they let the paparazzi capitalize. Some of the more famous photos may also be mugshots.

The other day Best Syndication was looking to embed the Jessica Simpson “Public Affair” music video on a story. YouTube was the logical first choice for our project. We found her video but were unable to embed it. Why? What does Jessica Simpson have to lose? They have already partnered with YouTube (Google) to monetize the video. They might as well have it placed on numerous sites around the Internet to increase revenue.

So rather than putting up the original Jessica Simpson video, publishers may opt to place a parody of her video. The parody, which may fall under fair-use (similar to Saturday Night Live parodies), will be disseminated among fan sites, blogs and bulletin boards in place of the original video. Adding insult to injury, Simpson and other talented stars do not receive one dime from Parodies.

Reuters, AFP and Associated Press have all signed-up as partners with YouTube. They have decided to join Google in a revenue sharing agreement where ads are placed at the bottom of their videos. The ads only run for a few seconds of the video, but if someone clicks on the ad they share in the revenue.

It would make sense for these agencies to allow embedding. Currently only the Associated Press (AP) allows publishers to embed videos. Both Reuters and AFP do not allow publishers to use their videos. The message provided is “Embedding disabled by request.” This means AP videos will be seen by more people increasing the potential for revenue.

Some talent management companies, public relations departments and agents might be doing a disservice to their clients. They should be providing the best images copyright-free for the public domain. This might be a better choice than allowing an image of their client without makeup moving to top of the picture list in Yahoo’s image search results.

News agencies, bloggers and fan sites may prefer to use the free image over an image they have to pay for, or one that can not be verified in the public domain. Rather than copyrighting the image, they may be better off to offer the pictures copyright-free. If the agencies already have copyright-free publicity photos, make them more readily available and make more of them.

This approach can help give their client a positive image. No more mug shots. No more bad-hair days. No more less-desirable paparazzi photos. Publishers will likely choose from your copyright-safe free images. It is a win-win.

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