Evolution Of TV Media Rights: My Journey In The Evolution


Evolution of TV blog pic.jpg

Happy New Year! As our last year of the teens, I couldn’t think of a better time to reflect on the evolution of TV media rights from when I first started in this industry to now.

When I first started my career, the TV rights language of “all media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perp” was not common. The rights that were licensed for television were limited compared to modern rights that are needed for distribution. “Back in the day” there wasn’t as much content and this strange idea of “new media” wasn’t in the air. Streaming platforms as we know them were not around. HBO was the main “new media” of TV at that time.

The company I started my career at was hired to re-negotiate the rights for all HBO shows (The Sopranos, Sex In The City, Six Feet Under, The Wire, etc). I remember hearing my co-worker explaining why the music rights need to be re-cleared, what this new media language meant, and why it was needed. This conversation was not just to indie publishers, writers, and artists. Bigger publishers were having a hard time wrapping their heads around this concept for television. This “new media” needed rights were not your standard TV rights and she received a lot of push back.  Why would publishers and labels not try to educate themselves about the changing technology? This was something that didn’t sit well with me.  I guess you could say my journey to working at Kobalt was a natural move for me to be part of a like-minded company that wasn’t threatened with new media but to see how can we work together.

With the evolution of media consumption and how consumers digest content, it is important to be knowledgeable of the rights needed for content.  It is such an exciting time to be part of the TV and Film industry. The technology of the future is going to give storytellers new outlets to reach old and new audiences alike. In order to serve those projects, education is important and thinking outside of the box is a necessity for music supervisors as well as all aspects of the industry.  This holiday season we saw the beginning evolution of another transformation of TV with “Bandersnatch” on Netflix. This interactive experience gave me such excitement for future projects!


Madelynn Elyse