A longtime former publicity executive of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- the group that owns the rights to the Golden Globes Awards -- now claims in a lawsuit that the head of the group, Philip Berk, demanded "commission" from a TV advertising buy NBC got from Chrysler. This was reported in TheWrap.com.
The suit says Chrysler made a $2 million advertising buy on NBC in one specific airing of the awards show. Additionally, the suit claims merchandise and other favors were exchanged for Globe nominations.
We don't know the validity of these accusations. But we do know that TV producers, strong and weak, are now looking for extra revenue these days -- more so that ever, due to the pressure to reduce license fees by the networks. That could mean merchandising, or more recently, product placement/branded entertainment opportunities. Much of this targets TV marketers' coffers.
While you would think much of this pressure might be working for mediocre shows looking to keep themselves afloat, it's actually prevalent for stronger TV franchises. The Golden Globes is one of these, a TV franchise that has grown in statue, viewership, and, yes, advertising sales. The latter is what NBC controls -- advertising revenues. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association gets, as virtually all TV producers do, a license fee for producing the Globes.
Rare are the TV producers of award shows that yield big influence on their TV sponsors. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is perhaps the only TV producer to have final approval of the TV advertisers that appear on its long-running Oscar Award show on ABC. In recent years, AMPAS, looking to fend off other awards' efforts, has broadened this list to include, with a bunch of restrictions, movie studio advertising.
Other award shows take a different tack. For years media buyers have noted MTV's own high-demand trophy shows, the Video Music Awards and MTV Movie Awards, have been used to drive bigger, broad-reaching, year-long, upfront-like deals.
It's a new world, and TV producers -- especially those not connected to a specific network -- are now thinking about digital video and other platforms, and the revenue rights they can secure.
Near term, TV producers will still a need the mechanism of a network to ultimately get their wares shown. The question is, what will these new digital-age financial deals look like?