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?

About Todd Cochrane

Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.

6 thoughts on “Are new media creators being used?

  1. Hey folks that is probably broadcasting people they are the only ones I can come up with who think their product is actually worth something………

  2. This is not uncommon behavior. I work for a small local record label that wants to have everything for free. No-one wants to work for free. As as an example, I was setting up an agreement with a local film school for equipment and students, for free. The owners of the record company were all gung-ho, right up until they saw their name on a sheet of paper linking them to the equipment. It was their choice for me to work as an intern under their company and freaked out, due to liability, when it came down to making some real commitment to the project. By the way, I was having to put up my own insurance for the equipment.

    Not sure what these people are smoking either. Apparently, now they have another film crew who is doing it for free. Post Production and everything. It will be interesting to see how soon after the next show that they will be producing the product and to what quality.

    I performed post-production for the last show and created a product that I thought was the product was the best that could have been done, considering the material I had at my disposal. I have yet to hear from them what they think of the product and am about ready to cut my relationship with them if I do not receive feedback soon.

  3. It’s pretty clear they thought they could use you as a cheap production company by taking advantage of your ambition and/or your ego.

    Clearly you are better off doing as you have, building your own brand and creating your own branded content.

    When people fall for these sorts of poor-paying deals in any form, and agree to work very inexpensively, the appeal to ego is always present.

    You were absolutely right to tell them to go pound sand.

  4. They were hiring us as a production company, the offer of the interviews came later after we said we would not do this for expenses, it was never requested in the beginning. The 30 plus interviews would have been done under their banner not mine. So no i do not think this was their concern, they thought they could get something for nothing the issue is they are greedy and cheap..

  5. I think the reason they would not (and could not) actually pay your fee for covering the event is that this would be a violation of FCC regulations and other compliance issues. Its a sticky situation — but, essentially you are now held, as a blogger, to the same compliance standards as journalists (you can’t pay a journalist to cover something)

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