As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the movie theater business in 2020 and into 2021, all Hollywood studios have had to adjust their theatrical release strategies via straight-to-VOD exhibition or concurrent theatrical and digital exhibition. According to one report[1], as the reopening of U.S. theaters at full capacity became more remote towards the end of last year, straight-to-VOD movie premieres increased over three times year-over-year in Q4 2020. While 126 films premiered in either SVOD or TVOD  in Q3 2019, 424 films premiered this way in Q4 2020. However, even with the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and the imminent return to “normal” towards the end of 2021, some experts believe that this trend will likely continue, and the pandemic had simply accelerated an inevitability[2].
Continue Reading The Rise of Straight-To-VOD and the Fate of Box Office Bonuses

In February 2021, SAG-AFTRA’s National Board voted to approve a new Influencer Agreement.  But, the announcement included few details, leaving many Brands and so-called Influencers to wonder what’s the deal?

To date, SAG-AFTRA has not released the actual long form agreement covering Influencers, but it has posted an Influencer Agreement Fact Sheet online here.  The Fact Sheet makes clear that, for now, the Influencer Agreement is extremely narrow in reach.  Indeed, it all but places the entire onus of documentation, compliance, and pension and health contributions solely on the Influencer.  Therefore, the Influencer Agreement will allow Influencers to earn union eligibility and make their own contributions toward their own benefits.  Here are the key points for Brands and Influencers to be aware of:
Continue Reading Brands And Influencers Need To Know About SAG-AFTRA’s New Influencer Agreement

Almost a year ago now, the pandemic outbreak disrupted the worldwide entertainment industry – and in particular, film and television production. Similar to the US, European audio-visual productions were halted, movie theaters were closed, events, premieres and entire marketing and distribution campaigns were postponed or cancelled.
Continue Reading The EU’s Initiatives to Redress the Effect of COVID-19 on the Entertainment Industry

To date, there are over 1 billion augmented reality (“AR”) users and 171 million virtual reality (“VR”) users worldwide[1], a number that continues to increase as more industries turn to AR and VR to create immersive user experiences. Companies are offering stand-alone experiences that integrate augmented reality and virtual reality at events, such as Samsung and Live Nation’s broadcast of a VR Coldplay concert, as well as through in-store location based applications to encourage a seamless “try before you buy” approach, like Gucci’s AR apparel and accessories try-on app. AR and VR are shaping the future of advertising and influencing our purchasing decisions. As a society with limited attention spans, these immersive experiences may be the answer to cultivating brand awareness and fostering consumer loyalty.
Continue Reading Is it Time to Make AR and VR a Part of Your Reality?

Trademarks are the heartbeat of all businesses that rely on brand identity to reach their audience.  Nowhere is this more important than for entertainment and media companies that constantly struggle through the often confusing morass of advertising messages.  A clear message requires a strong trademark.  And a strong trademark may depend on an understanding of how the recently enacted Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 changes the branding landscape.
Continue Reading Trademark Modernization Act Strengthens Rights of Brand Owners

This client alert is the second of a two part series concerning the Save Our Stages Act (the “SOS Act”), which became law on December 27, 2020 as Section 324 of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Business, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (the “Economic Aid Act”, comprising Title III of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021).  The SOS Act establishes a new grant program (the “SOS Program”, also known as the “grant program for shuttered venue operators”) to be administered by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to aid certain financially distressed venue operators, event promoters or producers, and talent representatives.
Continue Reading The Save Our Stages Act – Time for Eligible Businesses to Get Ready for Their Audition (Part 2 of 2)

Among the various bills that were amalgamated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the omnibus appropriations and stimulus funding bill that was signed into law on December 27, 2020) was a modified version of the Save Our Stages Act (the “SOS Act”), a bill first introduced into the Senate by Sen. John Cornyn (TX) on July 22, 2020. The SOS Act can be found in Section 324 of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Business, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, which act comprises Title III of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  The SOS Act establishes a new grant program (the “SOS Program”, also known as the “grant program for shuttered venue operators”) to be administered by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to aid certain financially distressed venue operators, event promoters or producers, and talent representatives.
Continue Reading The Save Our Stages Act – Time for Eligible Businesses to Get Ready for Their Audition (Part 1 of 2)

Even as restrictions on large gatherings are lifted on the local level, the experience of live entertainment will change drastically in a post-quarantine world. The collective live event industries adherence to safety guidelines and prudent practices based on up-to-date information will be unquestionably critical to our return to enjoying live sports, music, and entertainment.
Continue Reading Event Safety Alliance Releases Reopening Guidelines for Live Events

Iowa enacted a sports betting law last May. Section 99E addressed fantasy sports contests and Section 99F addressed sports betting.

Under Section 99E: a “Fantasy sports contest” includes any fantasy or simulated game or contest …” and 99E.2 states: “The system of entering an internet fantasy sports contest as provided by this chapter is legal when conducted by a licensed internet fantasy sports contest service provider as provided in this chapter.”
Continue Reading Is Esports Betting Sports Betting in Iowa?