Calculating Licensing for Broadcast

Eli Horn's picture

Hello Typohphiles,
I am pretty new as a contributor to the font world and was hoping some more experienced members could point me in the right direction. I recently released a font which has gleaned a lot of attention and now a major US broadcaster is requesting to license it for use as a logo for a television show, for US audience only, for one season for now.

I really have no idea how I should be calculating licensing fees for something like this, or what is appropriate. I neither want to overcharge nor undersell myself on this. The only point of reference I have found is the broadcast license calculator on Typoteque, which feels high to me, but at the same time I am sure the broadcaster is dealing with huge budgets.

Can anyone provide insight, or point me in a direction with more info on licensing and fees?

Thanks so much!

satya's picture

If the typeface is going to be used just in the logo, why they need a broadcasting license?

hrant's picture

So they're not actually licensing the font, right? They just want to pay you to use a logo made with the font. Which I presume makes the Typoteque reference moot.

Satya, many font EULAs don't require any special permission for that sort of thing* but let's assume Eli's does. So, how much to charge? I think a beginner should think of it this way: if you ask too little, you just lost some money; if you ask too much, you just lost some highly valuable exposure, including a chance for more business from the client. Also keep in mind that big companies got that way by not wasting money. How unique is your font? Remember, there's no copyright protection for actual font designs. If it costs them less to start from scratch, using somebody who's already on salary... The work for Disney that I once used to do (before they had to tighten their belts) always involved fixing a mess made by an in-house "type designer" (using the term loosely); whenever I pitched the idea of a custom font they looked at me funny.

* Which however doesn't stop some companies from insisting on paying you something for some sort of official agreement, so you can't sue them later.

BTW please do share your results here!

hhp

Eli Horn's picture

Right—I suppose as long as it is just use in the logo then they do not need to actually license the font for broadcast. Thanks for the answers! I am still curious to know the pricing standards for that sort of licensing though...

Karl Stange's picture

I have not come across many (if any) foundries specifying broadcast licensing, so the Typotheque example is intriguing. In a lot of cases licensing outside of predictable and well understood environments varies greatly between foundries, at least partly as a result of the font data often being distributed with the content it is being used to display. I am not familiar with the technology used to generate broadcast typography and whether this puts the font data at risk, so perhaps it comes down to a matter of exposure? House Industries take an approach to logo usage that considers the gross revenue of a company or of a movie that the font is used to promote:

Logo Usage and Product for Sale

  • There is no additional charge for companies under $5 million (US Dollars) in annual gross revenue. If the logo has a specific application for a business within another company, then use the estimated gross revenue for that venture. For example a logo for a major motion picture would be priced on the movie gross, not the studio gross.
  • $5 million to $10 million: $5000
  • $10 million to $50 million: $10,000
  • $50 million and over: $15,000

http://www.houseind.com/fonts/licensing/pricing

hrant's picture

So you have to send House your tax return?

hhp

Karl Stange's picture

Worried your annual gross is in excess of $5 million? : )

Ray Larabie's picture

I charge broadcasters the regular shelf price. Paper, apps, television, what's the diff?

hrant's picture

Oh, I thought you said Armenian Drams. ;-)

hhp

Karl Stange's picture

In which case, do they offer compensation?

Eli Horn's picture

Yes, I still don't quite understand the intricacies of licensing. From what I have read on the forums here, whatever price is paid for the EULA should allow the font to be used to produce unrestricted any sort of printed product, so long as the font software itself is not distributed with the product. With that said though, I recently had a large music publisher approach me to license this same font for use on an album cover for a significantly greater price (of their own naming) than the typical EULA cost. The licensing was not for multiple users or anything like that, but pertained specifically to the font's use on the cover of this album, which makes me wonder if this is common practice for large corporations?

phrostbyte64's picture

We have had fonts used as title logos for TV, books and comic books as well as being used for secondary titles in programs. We have always just charged the shelf price. Of course we would like to charge more. Who doesn't want more money for the same product. It just doesn't seem wise or appropriate.

Mark Simonson's picture

I don’t charge extra or require a special broadcast license either. Same for logos.

I sort of get why people do it, that one should treat fonts like stock illustration or photography, that fonts should cost more when they are central to a design or product. But it seems shortsighted.

I strongly believe that prominent use of a font is the best ways to create demand. Therefore, I want people to use my fonts in logos and on TV shows and movies. Why would I risk discouraging that by charging more? I don’t believe I’m “leaving money on the table” in the long run.

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