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larger audience, larger rates?

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Brett Framelarger audience, larger rates?
by on Apr 30, 2008 at 6:06:20 am

Hello All,
Is it common to up your rates for jobs that will have a larger audience? For example, I am based in a town with a population of 150K. When I do a 30 sec. T.V. spot for a local client, I know how much I can charge and that client will use television to try and reach the 150K people. I would like to get into some larger markets, regional market areas that have a population of 3-4 million. So if I build a spot for that area, the client will be using it to reach 20x as many potential customers. Should I up my price for spots that cover that large of an area by 10x or maybe 20x my local rate?

Thanks for any insight.

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walter biscardiRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on Apr 30, 2008 at 11:25:13 am

[Brett Frame] "Is it common to up your rates for jobs that will have a larger audience?"

Nope. The rates go up based on ability, the local market and investment in my facility. Someone getting started out in the business would typically have lower rates than someone who has worked almost 20 years in the Post industry.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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Gursimran DhillonRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on Apr 30, 2008 at 11:26:30 am

Always keep in mind what you're doing and for whom you're doing it. Don't think about the market you are hitting, (if your product is good then you can ask for what you want). Population is nothing thought is everything, do your job, get the bigger business charge accordingly. You will know what you deserve when you acheive what you were going for.

G.S. Dhillon
Canadian Bollywood Films

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Craig SeemanRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on Apr 30, 2008 at 1:58:13 pm

If you want to equate market size with additional income and you're doing spots, become an agency. I've done this with the local cable companies in my area.

In short, I do the spot and buy the time. The cable company "gives me" 15%. The bigger the buy, the more expensive the market, the more money we get.

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Brett FrameRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on Apr 30, 2008 at 4:25:36 pm

Thanks everyone for your input. I will keep this in mind as I move forward.
Take Care,

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Mike CohenRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 1, 2008 at 1:39:23 am

to equate market size with value of your services is inaccurate. Given the fragmentation of tv audiences in local markets (local advertising is usually on the local cable system, even on afilitates) a market of 125,000 people may only realistically be multiples of a thousand potential viewers on a given channel.


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Brett FrameRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 1, 2008 at 3:41:41 pm

Thanks Mike.

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David Roth WeissRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 1, 2008 at 4:34:27 pm


I hate to complicate things, but I disagree, at least in part, with some of the views I read so far on this subject. Let me preface my response by admitting that I seldom work in commercials any longer, but I once did, and I know that, for one thing, national spots certainly pay more to the actors than local or regional spots.

In addition, I gotta believe that when an agency calls Tony Scott's company to produce a commercial, the size of the market has got to enter into the discussion. I mean, the budget won't ever be low, but even at that level there's got to be a difference in the budget between a local, a regional, a national, or a global spot, and its gotta be based on the potential number of eyeballs in the audience.

So, I do believe the size of the market should affect the size of the budget.

David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.

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Randy WheelerRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 1, 2008 at 4:39:49 pm

I thought this was standard procedure for voice-over talent. Here's an example showing a significant difference in rates between what is charged for local, regional and national markets:


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Todd TerryRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 1, 2008 at 5:31:18 pm

Performing talent (voice over, on screen, musicians etc.) is one thing, production talent is another (I don't exactly get any residuals for directing or editing... wish I did..ha!).

I think the biggest discrepency is that market size tends to dictate how big a budget a commercial project has. A national spot for a major big-player advertiser shot on 35mm film with a handful of SAG actors, five locations, a set built on stage just for the production, a big shot (and big money) voiceover talent, and custom-composed music is naturally going to result in a much fatter invoice than a DVcam-shot spot of Earl's Hardware Store airing only on local cable.

BUT... in both of those cases an hour in the edit suite is billed exactly the same... at least in our house.

We had a client actually ask us once in an initial meeting "So, do you charge more for clients that you know have a lot of money?" The answer of course was no... you pay for what you get, and you get what you pay for. But if we know a client does have deep pockets, we are certainly a lot quicker to concept spots for them that do have bigger budgets... whether that means shooting on film, hiring national talent, blowing something up, or whatever.

It would be awfully bad form for clients to ever find out if you have a "regular" rate and a "high roller" rate.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Brett FrameRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 1, 2008 at 6:08:10 pm

Thanks again for everyones input.

I have seen rates very for items like graphic design, voice talent, etc. depending on the reach of the piece. If a tri-fold brochure was selling tire services for a local shop the rate is low, if it is for Firestone and placed in stores across the country the rate goes up, even if the clock hours on production are the same.

Currently, we are creating the concepts, shooting, motion graphics, original music and soundscapes, voice overs, and editing. Maybe our rates increase for editing are by the hour, but our music, voice over, etc. are increased depending on how large a market the piece is for?

Thanks everyone,

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Timothy J. AllenRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 3, 2008 at 6:04:59 pm

I charge more for high end spots, but that's more of a reflection of my production costs to meet the clients needs, than of the final distribution targets and reach.

It's about that ever present "time vs. quality vs. speed = cost" equation. The quality part of the equation usually goes up if you produce in a larger market, because of talent level expected from talent (whether it be actors and musicians, or production and post). The local rates of the talent involved in completing the project tend to be higher in larger markets because of skill level. The distribution costs may be more, because of talent agreements.

Those rates for talent across the board are usually higher for the same reasons a smaller market's rate are lower - cost of living expenses and basic supply and demand.

If the client expects a "national quality level" spot, it means certain things like color grading are a given. Custom music will cost more than canned music - but it can make the spot memorable. The best actors and musicians in large markets don't charge union scale, that's just their minimum rate.

Because of supply and demand, some things cost more in larger markets and some things cost less.

The final cost to the client is still based on how much it costs me to do it and how much I need to charge to cover those expenses and still make a reasonable profit. While the final profit may be more in actual dollars, my markup on costs (percentage-wise) isn't.

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grinner hesterRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 4, 2008 at 9:03:44 pm

My rate is based on my experience, talent and creativity and is charged by the hour. How many hours I spend of my time is what determines the invoice. I only need to know how the end product is used so I know what kind of master to make. How many see it is not a care of mine.

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Brett FrameRe: larger audience, larger rates?
by on May 4, 2008 at 10:09:06 pm

Thanks for the insight.

I guess as we have dealt with photographers, jingle artist, talent, etc we have seen their rates go up depending on what the use is for. If it's local... it's rate A, regional... rate B, etc. I think a great edit job or motion graphic can have as much value to a piece as a great photo does. It would be nice if our rates adjusted as well. But...


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