Industry News and Frequently Asked Questions

DCMS new strategy on the creative industries - "New Talents for the New Economy"
New UKFC and DCMS appointments
UK Producers Lab at the Berlin Co-production Market

Latest 2008 consultations: Gower Intellectual Property Review
Television Without Frontiers / Audiovisual Media Services Directive
OFCOM’s 2008 Public Service Broadcasting Review


Glossary of industry and digital media terms

360 degree commissioning: Commissioning across multiple platforms at the same time. Used by the BBC to describe the need for multi-platform content creation rather than commissioning just one programme at one time.

Ancillary: Originally used to describe anything outside the main "domestic theatrical market" (outside the North American theatrical market), and this included the "international market" as well as other types of exploitation (which until relatively recently was seen as a smaller additional market). Sometimes also used to describe the DVD market and or the new digital platforms. Theatrical box office revenues still make up the majority of a flims revenue, with ancillaries bringing in around 20 -30% of a films revenues.

Assignments: When the copyright owner transfers all the ownership of copyright to someone else. Partial assignments are permitted e.g for "periods of time" and "geographical territories"

Blue-ray DVD. A recent format competing with HD DVD. For example Sony's "Spider-Man 3" will be available only Blue-ray DVD and not on HD DVD.

Budget: Various meanings depending on the context, medium and genre.
In the UK, a feature top sheet budget refers to all the production expenditure, which broken down into “above the line” talent costs and below the line costs.
Micro-budgets generally means up to £500, 000 Low budgets under £1 to 1.2m and Medium budgets up to £3-5m

Blanket Licence: A licence covering a set use without the need to obtain further permission
e.g. BBC Public Service Video On demand use will be covered by the BBC’s blanket agreement with Equity.
The BBC agreed a blanket licence with Equity to cover certain uses on their public services for originations and repeats for a one year period. Also covers indies supplying programmes to the BBC.

Buy outs: This describes a one off fee which acquires all rights in the material across all media in perpetuity. Typically by way of an....Assignment

Cord cutting: Choosing to stop cable or satellite services in preference for free over the air services.

Clips for promotional websites: These are generally intended to generate publicity but you should be able to use them on your own website.

Contracts Rights Renewal, CRR: A contractual term imposed on ITV which gives advertisers and media buyers the right to renew their contracts with ITV on a rolling annual basis, adjusted for changes in audiences, with no reduction in the discounts they receive. Overseen by an independent adjudicator and set up by the Competition Commission, it's designed to ensure they're are no worse off following the merger of Carlton and Granada in 2003. The automatic ‘ratchet’ reduces the amount advertisers have to commit if ITV’s audience shrinks.

Creative Commons: A flexible licence which encourages copyright owners to share their work. Basically it enables creators to keep their copyright but allows others to copy and distribute the work providing the creator is credited. Users need to decide whether to offer their work with no conditions for the public domain, or to impose conditions such as not allowing any commercial exploitation, or not allowing any modifications, limiting territories etc.

D2C: Direct to consumer

Deferrals: This can cover both real deferred payments as well as fantasy payments that will never ever happen. If deferred payments are to be used the contracts should specify how deferments are to be calculated and when they are to be paid out in relation to money coming in.

Digital Cinema Package (DCP): A collection of digital audio, image, and data files.

Digital Production Partnership, DPP:  The Digital Production Partnership is standardising the technical requirements for the delivery of TV programmes to major UK broadcasters. Coming into effect in October 2014 these set new technical specifications for delivery. The initiative formed by the UK's public service broadcasters helps producers and broadcasters maximise the potential of digital production and avoid a proliferation of different file formats and structures for video content.

Digital Rights Management, DRM: A system of managing rights in a digital format. Usually used to refer to digital formats that have in built anti-copying protection. A content protection measure which restricts the number of private copies a consumer can make. DRM technology is at an early stage and the EC and other jurisdictions are still debating new rules.

Digital Terrestrial Television, DTT: The terrestrial channels which are BBC1 BBC2 ITV Channel 4 and Channel 5 being broadcast via analogue are also being broadcast digitally.

DMB: Digital Multimedia Broadcasting. A new mobile media format where consumers get real-time broadcasts and pay-per-view service.

DTO: Downloads To-Own. Where a consumer pays to retain a copy of a downloaded conntent. Also known as "ELS"'s "Electronic Sell Throughs" and at the BBC as CDR's "Commercial Download Rights."

DVD: A term for digital video disc or digital versitle disc which stores material on an optical disc. Distributors selling DVD's will frequently take a flat fee or a profit share depending on the volume of unit sales.

Electronic-sell-throughs - ELS: Also known as down-loads to-own. Includes purchasing works on-line, and on demand covering individual sales, where the consumer downloads a programme for a one off fee.

Freeview: Free digital television.

Format shifting: Making content in one format available in another format. Illegal in some jurisdictions e.g. in the UK cannot legally download a music track from a CD to put it on an ipod. The Gower IP Review has recomended the UK introduces a limited private copying exception for format shifting works.

G2: Mobile devices which allow for the equivalent connection speed of a dail up modem. Still used by most European scubcribers. AKA (also known as) GSM Global system for mobile communications:

G3: Mobile devices which allow for the equivalent broadband connection speed. AKA (also known as) UMTS universal moblie telecommunications system. After an initially slow take up rate when launched in 2003 now growing expotentially. . Also see GSM.

GSM Global system for mobile communications: AKA (also known as) G2 devices which allow for the equivalent connection speed of a dail up modem. Also see G3

HD-DVD A recent DVD format competing with Blue Ray DVD. For example Viacom's Paramount and DreamWorks Animation have recently announced they will exclusively back the HD-DVD format for the release of HD movies on optical disc and Universal's "The Bourne Ultimatum" is only released on HD-DVD.

Interactive programme websites: Another potential revenue stream, subject to negotiation with revenue being split depending on how it’s been set up and financed.

Intellectual Property Rights -IPR's: A very general term covering copyright, trademarks and patents.

IPTV (internet protocol TV): Allows programmes to be delivered live or on demand over an internet broadband connection, to TV (not PC) via a set-top box or on various platforms including potentially mobiles and games consoles. There's no agreed international standard yet for access or for digital-rights management. The market is also geographically fragmented depending on whether it's deployed by cable, satellite or terrestrial broadcast and by regional differences in digital-TV requirements. So while standard-definition TV may be sufficient in some areas, other regions will require HDTV. Still at an early stage of being developed available bandwidth and data rates also vary among DSL infrastructures.

Internet on-line distribution rights: Traditionally granted to a broadcaster. Holdback until 1st terrestrial transmission.+ simultaneous web-casting on co-financiers television service. Maybe main financier gets the 1st online transmission or all agree to split revenues as per % finance.

Licences: Basically a license is permission to do a act which is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder. When the copyright owner licences certain rights for a fixed term and the licence can be revoked and the rights revert back to the copyright holder in specific circumstances. You can have exclusive and non-exclusive licences. An exclusive licence is an agreement authorising the licensee to the exclusion of all other persons, including the person granting the license, to exercise a right which would otherwise be exercisable by the copyright owner.

Key Delivery Messages (KDM) for digital cinemas unlocks a DCP. A KDM allows the playback of an encrypted DCP used in digital exhibition.

Long Tail: Products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current blockbusters.

Minimum guarantee: An advance on the anticipated revenues gererated in a specific territory for a sepcific time period put up by a distributor.

Multi-platform: Utilising content across different kinds of platforms for potentially different kinds of audiences. This can include simultaneously shooting the same content in different ways to utilise it across different platforms.

NVOD: Near Video On Demand. e.g. pay per view films with staggered start times.

New Media Rights: Include on line, on demand and interactive rights (including SMS).

Non Simultaneous web-casting: Normally this covers any webcasting that is not within the primary right e.g. commercial, video on demand or on-line pay tv or non-commercial catch up.

OTT TV: Over the top television services: The delivery of video via the internet directly to users connected devices, allows access to services anywhere, any time on any device. Technological problems are being resolved relating to general platform and system integration issues, including bandwith and transferring content between devices. Current OTT suppliers include Hulu and Netflix accessing mostly library content rather than live services such as sport and news.

PPV: Pay-per-view. A distributor will currently take a minimum guarantee and residuals as well as a flat fee on the remainder.

Pay TV: Subscription based, usually allowing a mix of channels and content which can be bundled or unbundled depending on the package, e.g. Sky+.

Premium rate phone lines: An example of generating revenue from other platforms. OFCOM sets out conditions, the body overseeing the former ITC Programme Code.

Primary rights: This can mean different things in different circumstances e.g. Primary rights can mean “UK terrestrial television rights” or even “worldwide televisions rights” so you need to be clear which definition is intended.

Points: Definitions vary considerably "What ever I want it to mean" - e.g. for writer & producer to share in profits, the agreement will need to specify whether percentage points are calculated from either gross or net profits; and exactly how those are defined; as well as how and producers net profits are defined.
In practice quite often both parties will agree that whatever term is used, it is defined as being the same definition as used the in all the principal financing and distribution documents - to make it all consistent.

Public Service Uses: Any services provided by the BBC in any media and on any platform that are funded by the licence fee in accordance with the BBC Charter.

PVR's: Personal Video recorders e.g. HDD recorders with Freeview

Renumeration: Rates of pay for freelancers depends on the employment market place, the market for the project your working on and to a lessor extent the overall budget. BECTU issues a schedule of recommended rates for different grades and roles within the industry.

Residuals: The amount of royalties will be directly related to the copyrights holder’s original fee with payments being calculated as a percentage.

Royalties: The amount of royalties will be directly related to the income generated as payments are calculated as a percentage either of the sale price or of the net income arising from sales of the work.

Secondary rights: Again there is no precise or standard definition. Generally they can cover publishing, merchandising and soundtrack rights i.e apart from the right to exploit the actual programme. Secondary rights aka Ancillary rights, territory rights or spin off rights.

Simultaneous web-casting: Normally these are within the primary rights definitions in standard production contracts.

Streaming Media: Media which is delivered to any IP device which plays constantly from a server without being permanently downloaded.

Terms of trade: In UK television refers to the current terms of trade and the codes of practice for independent producers which Pact negotiated with the UK's terrestrial broadcasters in 2006. Covers UK’s terrestrial television and new media rights. All new commissions are under the new terms of trade and independent producers retain rights unless they explicitly sell them. The terms include a new emphasis on the separation of rights & transparency, and a tariff of prices has been published by each of the terrestrial broadcasters for each genre.

TVOBB: Television over broadband.

UGC User-generated content: This has been around for years, but it is only relatively recently that it has increased exponentially - and now anyone is able to distribute the content they have made themselves. Including blogs, webcam footage, photos and clips shot on mobiles and shared with the online community. AKA viewer-created content.

UMTS universal moblie telecommunications system: Mobile devices which allow for the equivalent broadband connection speed . AKA (also known as) G3. After an initially slow take up rate when launched in 2003 now growing expotentially. Also see GSM.

UltraViolet: The new (launching later in 2015) cloud-based digital storage system is for licenced content to allow repeated downloads and streaming to different platforms and devices for up to 5 individuals and 12 devices.

VC²: Stands for viewer-created content. AKA UGC.

VOD: Video on demand. Where the consumer can watch content on demand at any time. Also see Near Video On Demand.

VOIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol. A phone service via a broadband connection. Now widespread in many countries.

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Author’s notice. This glossary has been prepared as an introductory guide to some aspects of copyright for general information only as background reading. It is not intended to provide legal advice. The author cannot be held responsible for any losses or claims howsoever arising from its use or reproduction.

© Malcolm Moore All Rights Reserved 2006 -2015


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Florida, 1971