There’s a continuing rise in the need for content in all forms, and podcasts are now seen as a huge growth area for on-demand audio. Not only can they be added to large streaming platforms such as Apple or Spotify, this gives them access to a huge audience too.
As independent insurance specialists, we handle the cover for podcast agencies of all sizes. That’s why we understand the challenges you face, and how difficult it can be to protect your business while meeting certain obligations.
We also know that no two podcasts are the same, so it’s important to get a tailored insurance package that’s right for you. Read on to learn what to look out for when seeking coverage for your business.
The content owner
Podcasts tend to be lower risk than live audio content, as you can review and edit them before publication. Managing this process is important, and a key area that insurers want to see during their underwriting process.
Your own content
When you release your own content, your risk is higher because you’re responsible for what’s put out. You need to carefully consider and manage the editing process to ensure minimal exposure. For example:
– Is the content potentially defamatory?
– Could it be considered investigative?
– Have you got the appropriate licences?
If you’re acting as an agency for a third party, meaning you’re editing and producing the podcast but not responsible for the content itself, your exposure could be lower. But you still need to consider your responsibility in this process, such as:
– Who’s responsible for final sign off, you or your client?
– Do you have the appropriate licences in place?
– Are you managing the advertising? And is this in line with the company’s brand?
Contractual requirements to think about
Whether you’re creating, editing or scripting for a third-party studio; independently creating your own intellectual property (shows); or being funded by a publisher for a commissioned series, you’ll often have strict contractual requirements relating to insurance. These can involve:
– Type of policy you should have
– Limit of insurance
– Length of time you should hold this limit of insurance
– Contract jurisdiction
– Additional requests (such as noting a third party as an additional insured)
US companies often have onerous contractual requirements with little room for manoeuvre. For that reason, it’s vital you work closely with your broker or provider to ensure your coverage offers the right protection.
Policies to consider
Insurance for podcast studios doesn’t have to be expensive, and ultimately it depends on each risk. The right cover can prove invaluable and potentially keep your studio in business if things go wrong.
There are many policies available, but we suggest podcast agencies focus on the following as a minimum:
Professional Indemnity (Errors & Omissions)
This defends your studio against allegations of negligence, errors and omissions. Should you lose a claim, it also pays any costs awarded against you, be it damages or legal expenses for the other party. Comprehensive cover includes:
– Breach of contract – failing to deliver the podcast within an agreed timescale.
– Intellectual property (IP) infringement – facing third-party accusations of alleged IP infringement, such as using music you hadn’t licensed for an intro.
– Breach of confidentiality – inadvertently breaching confidentiality on content prior to release, resulting in expensive litigation.
Cyber & Data
Privacy protection, hacker damage, and data breach costs are all useful parts of this policy. But there are a couple of additional covers worth knowing about:
Cyber extortion: If you face a ransomware threat, insurers can step in and fix the problem. This is especially important for podcast agencies that need to deliver content within specified timescales, or if your series is leaked prior to release, and will protect against the potential fallout if third-party IP is leaked.
Cyber business interruption: This is a new area of cyber cover that was previously only available on a small number of policies. It can help to recover any potential loss of earnings as a direct result of an attack, or pay additional costs (such as for extra resources) to get you back on track.
Why you aren’t a simple risk
Because podcasting is still a relatively new media form, insurers don’t have the same history when underwriting these types of risk, which means they can be cautious. When an insurer classes you as ‘higher risk’, it can be difficult to find standard, off-the-shelf cover. There are several reasons why podcasters are put into this category, including:
– Worldwide distribution of shows (the US and Canada in particular)
– IP infringement exposures, from storyline, titles and music samples
– Contractual clauses, such as US jurisdiction and the publisher to be an additional insured
– Strict confidentiality stipulations, especially from large US publishers
– Highly litigious sector
– Project complexity and time-critical deliverables for release dates and events
– Licensing agreements needed for certain types of content
The rising popularity of podcasts, plus celebrity and influencer involvement, has driven more money into the sector, causing increased risk to creative agencies. This means litigation to protect these assets has also gone up, in particular around intellectual property.
As a result, only a certain number of insurers will quote to cover podcast studios, and this number reduces if the podcasts contain controversial and/or emotive content. What’s more, few insurers provide the level of protection we recommend you have.
Managing the risk
It’s important to know how to manage your exposure. This can be done through effective legal counsel, and having the right process and procedures set up. Here are some things insurers like to see in place:
Ask guests to sign a disclaimer to say they’re happy for the content to be released and that they’re responsible for their comments.
Establish a thorough sign-off process, ideally with two independent reviews for any flagged content prior to release. As required, seek legal advice.
Make sure there’s a review process and take-down procedure for a podcast, should you receive allegations from a third party.
IP review process
Arrange appropriate checks and legal advice to manage your IP risk management process. Using media-specific lawyers can help ensure you have the right licences and are free to use the content in the way you want to.
If you’re creating content for a third party, ensure they have final sign off and you get written confirmation prior to publication. Ideally, your commercial agreement with the third party will make them (not you) the owner of the IP and the podcast in question. Then, you’re only responsible for your own service provision, rather than the podcast material.
What RiskBox can do for you
We’ve outlined a number of things for podcast agencies to consider, but we know it’s not always easy to get your head around. That’s why RiskBox is on hand to help you secure the appropriate protection for your business.
With our knowledge and expertise, we can make the process as simple and pain-free as possible.
To learn more about how we can support you, get in touch on 0161 533 0411 or fill in our online contact form.
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