Podcasters should use ‘shopping agreements’ to protect their IP, says Blanchard House CEO

Kimberly Jung talks risks about selling podcast rights to TV and film companies

Podcasters should be considering shopping agreements when negotiating their IP, according to Kimberly Jung, CEO and co-founder of independent podcast production company Blanchard House.

A shopping agreement allows for a producer to represent the IP to production companies such as film studios, networks or any other backer for a limited period of time while the creator still maintains their rights to the projects. This is an alternative to an option agreement in which the producer would buy the rights to the IP and have full control over it. 

According to Jung, who made an appearance on the latest episode of PodPod, creators should be asking producers for a shopping agreement during the negotiation process. She also recommended that a lawyer is present for these conversations to go over the fine details that can protect them from losing their IP completely. 

“You should be advocating for it, but they won’t always give it and then you can always say no and take it elsewhere,” said Jung. “So if your show is pretty hot and there's other people who wanna shop it around, then you can probably demand and get an upfront payment for that shopping agreement.”

Blanchard House is a self-titled ‘IP incubator’ which, according to Jung, means that the company is dedicated to finding and developing original IP and curating stories from all over the world with unique and diverse perspectives. All sound design and music is done in-house, as these elements were invested heavily by the company, and so is the journalism in order to create immersive narrative podcasts. 

As a result, Jung says that it is very important for Blanchard House to hold onto IP when negotiating with a company and would walk away if they didn’t have some sort of editorial control over the IP. 

“If the platform is big enough and if they're offering enough money or they're giving us rev share for some other thing or other backend, we might say yes,” said Jung. “But we like to hold onto our IP at Blanchard House because it's editorial control and it's ultimately about the story. So as much as you can, I would hold onto the IP.” 

Jung also said that there are other ways that creatives can protect their IP, which can be making sure that their idea is published somewhere in any format like an article, TV, book, podcast etc; and having people sign an NDA when discussing ideas if the creator is not capable of putting money towards having a lawyer present.

“I think when creatives are starting out, just realising the value of your IP and the ways in which you can keep it safe are just by thinking about it at every turn,” said Jung. “If you do want it to have a new life somewhere else, in what ways can you do this yourself and present it? And what ways do you need somebody else? And if you need somebody else, they are going to ask for either ownership of that IP or a piece of it.”