Are new media creators being used?

Two weeks ago I was contacted by a major marketing firm representing a major Fortune 500.  The pitch was pretty good, they wanted me and a crew of my choosing to come to Palm Springs and cover an event for their client,  a large number of their top partners would be their for three days of training. The basis of the assignment was that I would live stream the event to a site that would be behind a corporate firewall.  They also wanted me to interview and post produce 30 interviews from partner companies at the event. They made it clear that  I would have to submit those interviews to the company within 5 days of the closing of the event for placement behind their corporate firewall, and that I “would not” be able to use them on my site.

I submitted them a very fair proposal for a three people crew that contained expenses for Travel (coach), Hotel, Perdiem, Equipment shipping and a reasonable coverage and post production fee. The grand total of the proposal came in just under $25,000. All told there would be about two weeks of work on this project with post editing of interviews and the 24hrs of show coverage.

The response I got back from the company, was that they would be willing to pay for Travel, Hotel, Perdiem and shipping but not my fee to cover the event or post production costs. When I responded that this was unacceptable,  they were quite incredulous in saying that their would be 5 interviews I would be able to publish publicly, that should be worth the production cost, salaries and other expenses to cover the event.

I am shocked they would ask me to fly three people to palm springs and stay at a  5 star hotel per their request. Where we would be on location for 5 days to cover a three day event, ship in $40,000 worth of equipment. Produce 24 hours of live content,  plus do 30 interviews that would require a week of post event production time essentially for travel expenses?  I don’t know what you thinking but I will say this, they must have been smoking crack to think anyone would do this for expenses. If they had contacted a true production company, their cost to do what I proposed to do would have been a 100k with 10 people on the ground.

I am refraining in mentioning the company holding the event,  and representing marketing company in this piece, I told them that I would be posting an article pertaining to the discussions that broke down last week, and their legal department immediately threatened me with a lawsuit if I named them. That is the last thing I need, and want to warn other content creators to be careful to not be taken advantage of by companies looking to scam you into what they promote as a great deal for your time.

We could have really hit a home run for them in the production of this event, as I know the space and the players. But I refuse to be play along with this charade, like this is some great deal for my company, if the company was a sponsor of my show or something else maybe I would have considered it differently, but they want something for virtually nothing at my expense and time

If I had exclusive rights to the content  to post as I see fit and stream the event live, then I could have weighed this differently as well. The insinuation that was made that was because we are new media the trade of services for access was an acceptable trade off. I disagree and as a business person am in business to stay in business not do charity work.

So the question needing asked are companies now trying to take advantage of small companies like mine because they perceive we can be taken advantage of because we are new media?