Following His Two-Year Anniversary: Director of Brand & Agency Licensing, Derek Smith Reflects on His Time At Jukin and 2020

By Mike Skogmo on August 20, 2020


JM: Can you Summarize what you do at Jukin?


DS: I sit on the licensing team for Jukin Media. I cover our Midwest and Southeast territories out of Atlanta, Georgia and my role and responsibility is to position Jukin Media as a vendor of choice to agency creators and producer on the advertising agency side of the business and to also parallel that with outreach to brands to make sure they understand who Jukin is, why we matter, and how we can help them scale their brand storytelling. Most of my outreach to brands involves me framing the Jukin proposition and making sure that they are also messaging back to their advertising agencies that Jukin is a creative resource partner that should be considered in the process of having to scale production to save cost in money when it comes to ad creative. 


JM: How did you end up at Jukin Media?


DS: Prior to Jukin I worked for a company called Corbis entertainment which is another big licensing company that licenses out rights manage content and royalty-free content. The company doesn't exist any longer and was sold by Bill Gates to a Chinese company a few years ago. The work that I do here at Jukin is very much similar to the role and function that I had at Corbis. I called on the same customers, advertising agencies and brands, and so the biggest difference is that I'm really positioning our video assets as well as our content acquisition services, whereas at Corbis it was just strictly focused on still images and stock video, as well as, rights manage still images.


There's a huge gap between the content that we have in our library and the content that we license to advertisers or publishers compared to what a stock house or stock agency might have in their library. Our content comes with raw emotion built into it, it's very authentic, it's very candid and earnest and that is what makes us a different creative partner than say Corbis, Getty Images, Shutterstock, or any other royalty-free or rights-managed stock house. They’re really staging and producing content whereas we’re aggregating towards the best content that can be converted into or be used as a creative asset in ad creative.


JM: What was your favorite memory/greatest success working at Jukin Media?


DS: So we opened the door to new business with a company called Smile Direct Club. They had a really tight production schedule and they found assets that they liked inside of our library that they wanted to license. We were able to give them assets to deploy them as part of their new global rebrand. The reason why that project was really cool for two reasons: the way they used UGC to tell their brand story was really interesting and innovative. Our content was very instrumental in bringing to life what their value proposition is and how they're different from any other teeth whitening service. It was really cool to see how our content could be used in a differentiating kind of way in ad creative. The second part to why Smile Direct Club is a great customer and great partner and why that project was cool was because it opened up the door to more creative work to support and bolster this messaging strategy that they have. They showed you what they can do and what they can't do with your teeth and they use UGC as a creative tool to show you the best version and worst version of what that looks like. There are so many opportunities to tell that story through the assets we have in our library, they're a great example of how to grow business with an existing client, we managed to build a relationship with them that has lead to incremental growth and repeat business and they also serve as a partner to showcase smart ways in which we can use user-generated content to help brands tell their story. 


JM: What is Licensing? 


DS: Licensing is basically a part of our business that allows publishers or an advertiser to borrow an asset for a fixed period of time. Whether it be for television, internet, out-of-home, social media, any medium where video can live or breathe, or even some other medium like print. Advertisers pay a certain rate to use our content for a defined period of time to avoid the cost of having to go out and recreate that exact same moment. Licensing is an alternative solution to create an idea or source an idea through user-generated content. Simplest way to understand licensing is to think of it like rent. If you have an apartment, you probably paying rent and you're borrowing that apartment for a fixed amount of time and you're going to pay that your landlord a monthly rate to own a certain space for a minimum of 1 year or longer. A license is no different from the concept of renting an apartment. You’re renting an asset for a fixed period of time and paying a price depending on what your needs are in terms of that creative asset.


JM: So if an asset is only rented for a year, does that mean it's no longer allowed to live on that platform?


DS: It depends on the type of license that you have and the type of use that you need to license for and whether it is an advertiser using the asset or a publisher, a magazine, television station or any kind of editorial-based organization. For editorial use, you have the right to use that content for any type of editorial piece and that piece can live and sit on your site forever as long as the use of that piece, the context in which it was used, does not change. Let's say you're using a piece for an article, that piece can sit on the article for years as long as the use for that article does not change. On the advertising side of licensing, if say McDonald's for example, paid to use a clip for 6 months on television and internet, at the end of six months for TV they would have to pay an additional fee to use that clip. If they use the clip again on digital, they'd have to pay an extension rate for that campaign. If they paid for the same clip for organic social to post on their website or their social media page, they pay a one time fee and that video asset could sit on their social page for the next ten years without having to pay an additional amount of money. The reason for that is because the use of that video in that post doesn't change, it stays the same. If they however take that video in that post and then they post it again with a different message or concept, it’s considered a different use and they have to pay for that separate use.


JM: What’s a common misunderstanding people usually have about licensing?


DS: On the Agency side, there is this misperception that if you use a video asset to create a 30 seconds spot and you cut that spot down to 15 seconds and 6 seconds, you may have to pay additional fees. What they fail to realize is that, in some instances, they are covered for the different versions of the ad they might have to create. If they create "lifts" for an existing spot, typically you are covered for lifts or versions of that 30-second spot without having to pay additional fees. If the creator concept is the same as the original use, and the messaging is exactly the same and all the creative is all the same, it is not considered a different use. 


JM: What is the licensing environment like right now, during COVID-19?


DS: Well we saw immediately after the shutdown, a surge in advertisers, in publishers, wanting to tap into user-generated content. Productions came to a halt, producers could not go out and shoot content and so UGC had a very relevant role to play in ad creative. There was this rush from advertisers to get COVID-19 messaging out to show people, as they are, dealing with the realities of not being able to leave the house or go out in public as in the old days. That surge lasted up until June and then we saw a slowdown. There was the rise in the Black Lives Matter movement and a lot of the social injustice protest happening around the country which really put a halt to a lot of the messaging and communications. Advertisers were unsure what to dial-up in their ad communication and so from June we’ve seen a slowdown in requests. Largely because it is summertime, people are out vacationing, spending time with family, and so we've seen a slowdown with licensing requests. But, we can anticipate going into the fall after Labor Day as more agencies go back into production and get the green light from their client to go and build out some of their original campaign ideas, taking into account everything that's happened up until now, we’ll see a shift in the interest to dial up more UGC for those creative assets.