An Artist’s Guide to The Model & Talent Industry

Usage fees and buyouts explained.

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Up until a few years ago, children were not paid a buyout, or usage fee when making a TV appearance.

An adult could appear in the same advertisement as a child and receive a daily fee for the shoot, as did the child, but then in addition to this the adult would receive a repeat fee every time the commercial was shown. Those repeat fees could amount to thousands of pounds, depending upon how often and what time of day that commercial was shown. The child would not receive anything over, or above the daily shoot fee that was negotiated at the time of their agency booking the assignment.

It was eventually agreed, after much negotiation, that a child should receive a ‘one off’ payment for the usage of the advertisement, in accordance with where and for how long it was to be transmitted.

There are set fees for each country, and these can often change according to client budget, however they are all calculated in the same manner.

The UK, for example, has a buyout fee of 500%. This would mean that if you calculate the basic shoot fee (let’s that would be £160 for the days shoot), by 500%, then that final figure of £800 would be the amount that the client must pay the child in order that they can then use that film for the 12-month period. The client is, in effect, buying the rights to that footage for a set fee, to use for a given time. If a client wishes to repeat the usage some years later (which is quite common with Christmas advertising), then they must contact the agency before transmission and negotiate further fees for this use.

Every country has a set percentage against it (Ireland 200%, UK 500% etc), which means that the earnings from one day’s work in the studio could amount to a very large sum, depending upon how many countries it will eventually be shown in. They can range from one part of the UK (clients will invariably offer only 100% to smaller regions), right up to a Worldwide Buyout, which would equate to a year’s salary for most of us!

That set aside, some clients will pay what they can ‘afford’ for the assignment and then it is the job of the agent to negotiate, or decide to decline the job, thus allowing the client to seek artists from another agency.

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