With the rise of the multichannel networks, there has been an increased request from a lot of content creators about potentially getting to join a Multi-Channel Network including, Awesomeness TV, Fullscreen, Machinima, to name a few. Multi-Channel networks can do a lot for an aspiring content producer.
Some of the services they offer include support provision, creating links with brands, bagging brand deals, and an increased CPM. So what is in it for them?
The only thing that these channels ask in return varies, some of the networks will boldly ask to own your rich content, and others just want a percentage of your revenue while others will ask you to work with other content producers and artists.
So what’s really at stake?
The multi-channel networks bear a striking resemblance to the Hollywood movie systems in the early 20s. They aimed to do three things;
- Bring together talent, production under one roof
- Owing the content
- Distribution of content
This can be compared to what the multichannel networks are doing today, apart from the fact that the control of the distribution has become a lot for them.
If you are reading this post, you are probably looking for some answers, therefore, consider what this post states as essential advice for any particular artist or content producer that is interested in joining these networks.
The main purpose of this post is to assist artist by preventing them from getting screwed over by their contracts or entering a legally binding relationship without understanding the underlying implications. Simply placed, if you follow the following advice, it will mean a better deal for everybody.
How MCN contracts work
So here’s how the contracts usually work. Party X will draft up a copy of a contract that they believe is fair and beneficial to all parties that are involved and send it to party Y. Party Y will have to make some changes to the initially drafted contract by party X and then sends it back. Party X will then make further changes to the contract, and this process will go on for some time until the contracts get to a point where both parties are in agreement.
When you get the first draft sent to you, that should mark up as the onset of the negotiation. You have the right to make some changes and send back the contract with the particular changes.
Why you need to lawyer up
There are a lot of contracts that are sent over to artists that are frankly absurd. They should not be signed whatever the circumstance. You should realize that these particular companies has a legal team or a lawyer on retainer.
The legal team is paid handsomely to make sure that the network gets the best possible deal. Therefore, unless you have some background knowledge on entertainment law, you are totally misplaced and don’t have what it takes to beat these guys.
The first thing you need to do when you get a hold of the contract is to read and re-read the contract. The next step is to get a hold of an entertainment lawyer and let them have a look at the contract with you. This makes sure that you are in the loop and understand what is happening.
Your lawyer will probably suggest some changes, and you should also make some changes too. Ensure that you have some few questions in the nature of (“What if….or what will….”)
In case you are considering joining the network, then whatever fee you pay your lawyer will be totally worth it. You also do not need to call the network with questions about the contract, they are not under any obligation to warn you, and considering off the record conversations with some of these networks, they might straight out lie to your face. You must always remember that your lawyer, who you are paying handsomely, is the only person you can trust in this kind of situation.
Ensure that you outline exactly what you are looking for in any lawyer, and what it is likely going to cost. Remember it’s not a coca cola deal, it’s a pretty basic entertainment contract, you won’t need the world’s top lawyer on this one yet, and you pretty much have a lot to gain with a lawyer on your side than none.
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