Developing and investing in Intangible assets

Nowadays we see many examples of how IPs (intangible assets; simplified, assets that can not be "touched") increase in value and how you, as the owner, can manage, buy and sell different types of IPs. A clear example that we all encounter next to every day is movies and books that often change owners and develop into other products. We have also seen how mobile games like Angry Birds can evolve into movies, books, etc. Many who are not familiar with the industry of movies, books and games, or who have not been particularly involved in intellectual property, might not know that the rights of every movie and ideas, like books and games, are owned by someone. As in the case of many films today, companies or individuals often own the rights to these and the value of the brand or idea can be sold or in other ways earn money. This can be valuable, especially if you have an idea or intangible asset that is unique, popular or may have sold well in the past or as another product.

 
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why focus on IP?

One of the most common reasons why you choose to make movies of a game or book is almost exclusively for economic gain. Many times you see a greater value in expanding an IP's market than writing a new book or developing the next game. A new product under the same IP will often reach a new audience or otherwise exploit it's already established customer base to boost its revenue from an already existing product. One example is the books you make a movie of, the book sells the movie but the movie also sells the book to those who did not read it. Another strong advantage of intangible assets is that you can collaborate with companies in other industries to take their IP into a new market without having to invest resources in development and production costs of a new product. A clear example is Angry Birds whose owner made stuffed animals to further capitalize on Angry Birds and the movie they released during the same period.

A brand can therefore be incredibly valuable. Look at Star Wars who Disney owns or why not Swedish examples such as, "The man called Ove" or "Men who hate women. A perfect example on an IP is Valerian, a movie I wrote about some time ago. The horizon has become much broader and today you can see opportunities where you would not otherwise think that a brand or IP could fit, much thanks to great successes like the ones above. This has in turn increased the understanding and importance of protecting intangible assets. You should never underestimate the value of your intangible assets and take a day or two to figure out how to protect and use them to your advantage. I am convinced that we will see a greater willingness in expanding and protecting IPs in the future and that can only be good.

For more information in Sweden, please visit: Patent- och registreringsverket

For more information in the U.S, please visit: USPTO

And as always, thanks for visiting.


Quick thoughts about VR, AR and MR

today's problem

I have yet to see indication that VR, AR or MR are getting the same "confidence" as other new products are getting. We see investments pour in but the consumers are failing. This is not very surprising since the market is small, maybe even non-existent today, it is also expensive for a family to purchase a VR-headset and a computer. What happens instead is that the same family buys a google cardboard instead to try "VR", the experience is not what they thought and that's where VR is failing big. The large companies are still waiting for the consumer influx in VR before they want to venture into unknown lands, the consumers will come when the market matures and can deliver on it's promises. Film and TV-series are a proven market whereas VR and Mixed Reality as a medium is not and I feel it is not suited as a regular entertainment system. VR will start to find it's place in 2018 and after that, we will see where it will take us. What I am sure of though, is that the "experts of VR" need to be more understanding of their market and potential users. Most of the time, the people involved in new industries, especially tech are hard core nerds not thinking about the consumer first and I believe that is the main problem today.

Take a look at Google, they have some things in the works that might invite more users to try VR.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Whale Augmented Reality Magic Leap

The other major problem is that most VR companies today does not know how to get paid. Many of the companies I meet look for investors and financing without having a way of monetize its product. That is plain stupid and crazy, not naming anyone but one person has asked me several times on different occasions to invest in their projects for a "good cause" by helping the VR industry grow. That is a big problem, if you don't expect to get your or an investors money back, that industry is dead.

On a positive note

Not everything is bad though, we see increasingly better experiences and hardware, the prices are being lowered and the usability is steadily getting better by the day. What people thought would take two years just took longer and I think that is fine as long as investments continue to grow the industry. Most of the "experts" will also decline and the number of quality productions will increase as well. Right now, the only way VR and AR are being used most efficiently is in the military. As with everything else, the military will probably be first to fully use VR and AR, consumers come second.

As always, thanks for visiting.


Farm Sanctuary’s 30th Anniversary Gala

Tonight was the 30th Anniversary Gala for Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary work towards a more humane society and are helping thousands of farm animals every year to get a better life, far away from industries and slaughterhouses. I helped Farm Sanctuary develop a relationship with HTC Vive and create a 360 video that showed a different story when it comes to animal handling.

I am a strong supporter of their work towards a more humane society and I think that could easily be one of the most important things you can spend your time and resources on today, helping animals and the environment. Hopefully more people will realize this and start changing their behavior towards animals. I will talk more about this some other time.

 
 Daniel Bramme & James Costa Farm Sanctuary 30th Anniversary Gala

Daniel Bramme & James Costa Farm Sanctuary 30th Anniversary Gala

 

I was invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary together with all the other supporters and everyone had a wonderful evening. I wear a suit from Moods of Norway on the picture, great quality suits if you are looking for something different but still Scandinavian design. James are holding a HTC Vive headset a perfect product to use for testing and experiencing VR today.

See what Variety had to say about the gala and read the press release from Farm Sanctuary. I look forward to continue the support of this great organization, if you have any questions regarding my work with environmental issues or want to get in contact with Farm Sanctuary, please don't hesitate to ask me or contact Farm Sanctuary directly on the link below.

Visit Farm Sanctuary and support the organization if you can. It's worth your time, everything helps. By the way, James is holding the HTC Vive VR-headset on the picture above, it is probably the best VR headset today.

HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System
HTC Virtual Reality System

how to finance your film or project

I'm writing this post as a quick resource to those who wonder about easier ways to fund smaller projects. It's much easier for me to write a post about the common ways you can acquire investments than to answer questions via e-mail which tend to become long answers. 

The financing model for VR projects can be somewhat similar to financing for film projects. The simple answer to most questions I get is, do your homework and do it well, learn and read about your situation and think about how to reach your goal. So this quick post will be about the different ways you can finance your project. A note though, every project is different, this is a simple rundown of some things you might not think about for your perticular project.

Film & VR financing

Government funding

Let's start with the common misconception that a government can and might finance your project. Well. in some cases you might have the time and the right project to approach a government fund or grant. In that situation it can be a great way of getting funds for your project. This will almost always attract media attention and PR opportunities so don't skip that route if you have a viable project. However, it will probably be time consuming and in most cases, your project is to small or not very interesting for a whole country to bet on.

If you do go this route, check the tax and investment incentives for each country, region or state (The U.S.). BFI in The UK is a great example of a organization helping with funding. SFI in Sweden is another example, however, Sweden does not have tax incentives for film productions at this moment.

Quick information: Apply for funding from each country and contact agents to see what territory works for your production. Lobby, until you get approved, denied or give up. Many filmmakers with larger projects can create job opportunities in countries, cities and/or regions. They usually include potential tax incentives and governmental funds in their budget. Always make sure you have a good reason to why you need investors, in this case how you bring value to the region. Soft money or public funds most of the times have many applicants and are often hard to get. In addition, these funds will probably restrict and compromise your creative integrity.

 

The Studio Model & Slates

The studios have a great strategy that helps investors lessen the risk of failure and that is called "slates". I'm not going to get into details around this strategy, as always, with several projects in your pocket, this can be something for you.

Quick information: Get 3 to 5 films or "VR episodes" together of a similar genre or idea and approach investors with this list of projects (slate). What you want to do is to show that you have more than one idea (actual productions that will happen) and what you need is for one of these to succeed on the market. The idea is that the successful project will recoup the investment made in the less successful projects. As with everything else, if you go with a slate, make sure all of them are great projects with different people behind them. Getting a couple of projects together that have clear value, energy and talent behind them is not easy. Being engaged and creatively invested in all of them is even harder.

 

Pre sales & Co-productions

Now we are talking. This is probably the best chance you'll get if you need funding. Also, this is a good way to see if a project is worth jumping on, if you are an investor. As an investor it's always a good sign if someone has already invested in a production. If a distributor made a pre-sale deal before you come in, that is also a good sign.

Co-productions can be a great way of knowing if a project is doable. For example a smaller production company might get a bigger production company to help in certain areas and that is making the whole project much more interesting for potential investors or team members.

Quick information: Sell your movie or project upfront (pre-sales) and/or join producers in other companies (or countries) for a joint project. By co-producing you can take advantage of soft money not normally accessible to your production, either by being a stronger entity or by expanding your network. This is usually the best or at least the easiest way of getting started. If you ask me as an investor, I would feel safer to know that there are a team behind a project, rather than one company or one entity. If you own the project and are honest with your capabilities and knows where you need support, then that is a sign that this individual is serious. I always tell people to not get too attached to their projects because the drawback with having co-producers is that they might want to exercise creative control. This might not be the easiest thing to accept for some.

 

Product placement

I get asked about this one a lot and I include this just for that reason. Product placement or brand integration should not be included in a budget. If you are looking for companies to include their products in your project, you should first of all have the project fully financed. However, for the right project, product placement can be a great addition but many projects are simply to small to even be considered for brand integration. Talk to local companies if you really want to use brands in your project.

Quick information: Unless you have a great project and exceptional talent, just skip branding and sponsoring. If you do try to approach companies to include their products in your project, please do us all a favor and be fully financed before you reach out, trust me on this one.

 

If you want more information about different types of film funding, click on the link. That's all for today. Have a good night and thank you for stopping by.