Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Usage prices

I was reading Leslie Burns Dell'Acqua's blog today and saw she had a post [here] about standardizing usage prices. Just the usage fees and not the creative fee. Interesting, I thought, and I'm very curious to see what people think.

Personally I have found that when triple bidding, the usage costs are kind of all over the place. But does this mean if there's standard industry pricing for usage that if a photographer feels the standard cost is too low the creative fees skyrocket? I have a feeling it might make my job easier instead of doing so many negotiations back and forth or having the client go with a photographer who has a lower bottom line but not the highest quality creative.
Leslie says in her post: "Try getting that $35K photographer the gig when the cost consultants and the end-client are completely wrapped up in the numbers! Buyers have to fight hard (sometimes) to get the right photographer for the project in these situations!"

I love the idea but does it open up a firestorm with the creative fees? Reps, how do you value each photographer's creative fee? Is one higher than the other because of experience, clients, etc?

If you saw the usage of say, unlimited print media and web/global electronic in the US for one year from date of first use, nonexclusive - what would you consider fair?

I was thinking $5,000 per image for usage... possibly lower but then again I'm always hearing from the account managers to negotiate the cost lower so I could be seriously low balling the cost.


Bruce DeBoer said...

The most appealing thing for me when considering both sides is the transparency of a difficult issue for many clients to understand.

When I was an account executive I often had to explain why when they pay thousands for a photo that they don't own it unless they pay thousands x 10. Turn that into some kind of copyright table of use fees, and we'll leave creative fees the only variable ... well ... except for saleability of the job itself.

The creative fees will vary primarily due to supply and demand; a busy photographer in high demand will command a higher creative fee.

Bruce DeBoer said...

Yikes - I just got a fairly passionate call from an industry "expert" telling me I should never break out my Usage fees from my creative fees.

I move to the duel fee model after years of a single fee (both usage and creative in one) because I felt a dual fee was more transparent for my clients in the estimation process. They were easier to negotiate and easier to educate those clients who were less sophisticated about copyright issues.

Any thoughts from AB's out there?

Jessica said...

When bidding against others you may benefit from being able to split out those into separate transparent line items.. as long as you continue to speak with the art buyer and offer that you are willing to be flexible (or not) - continue to stay in touch offering to help them through it really helps. Otherwise i see nothing wrong with combining the creative/usage into one fee. Especially in the case that you have given them a sweet deal and after the offer is on the table then describe how much they are going to be saving due to your flexibility...spell out how much of a discount they are getting.