At the Crossroads - Brand integration deals involve copyright, trademark, and insurance considerations

At the crossroads of Hollywood Boulevard and Madison Avenue, a variety of legal and business issues must be considered and addressed in order to set the stage for a successful brand integration deal. In the historical television network model, the advertiser-brand indirectly finances the content by purchasing television commercial spots on a television network, and the network uses the revenues from the commercial spots to acquire content from studios or independent producers with the expectation of making a profit on the margins between the cost of the content and the value of the advertising.

In the new world of greatly expanded channels of distribution, more opportunities are open for advertiser brands to deliver their messages to particular demographics. Opportunities exist for brand integration into the programming, for characters in the program to represent or use a brand, for brands to be featured on the desks of judges, for brands to be the prizes that are sought by competitors, or for brands to otherwise appear within the story of the show. Integrations take place in all forms of audiovisual content, including scripted television series, reality series, talk shows, games shows, movies of the week, music videos, theatrical motion pictures, video games, Web-specific digital content, viral videos, and content for in-store use. Among other benefits, when the brand is integrated into the content (as opposed to appearing as a commercial), it is more difficult for the viewer to fast forward through the message.

Originally published in Los Angeles Lawyer on May 14, 2014.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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