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February 27th, 2023
GRWM: Everything You Need to Know About the Growing World of Online Influencers and the Opportunities it Presents for Lawyers
Advertising and Interactive Entertainment Counsel Dorian Slater Thomas is interviewed by Chambers Associate in the article, “GRWM: Everything you need to know about the growing world of online influencers and the opportunities it presents for lawyers.” The article speaks with prominent legal leaders on the growing market of social media influencers and the opportunities it presents for lawyers. Dorian is quoted saying, “There are so many entertainment spaces, and advertising has crept into all of those.”
Dorian adds that there are no set metrics as to how big an influencer’s following needs to be to warrant legal representation. He says, “I’ve represented emerging influencers who may have less than 10,000 followers on a platform, and negotiated brand deals with the biggest influencers whose last names start with K.” It’s more about the level of influence these personalities have over consumers, than the numbers themselves. Dorian notes that representing an influencer is almost a piece of a traditional talents job due to the high revenue from marketing dollars.
He also notes that influencer representation sits at the convergence of many areas of law. Dorian says, “I’ve seen deals where Twitch has engaged well-known streamers and essentially asked for a full-time job – 160 hours a month of streaming, so eight hours a day, five days a week. If that’s the case, it’s useful to have an attorney who is experienced in reviewing and negotiating those deals on things like industry standards, hours and compensation, how often you have to break for advertising, or how many ads you have to serve per hour.”
He adds that his entrance into the industry made sense coming from his experience in both advertising and interactive entertainment law. He says, “I work in two groups at Frankfurt Kurnit: the advertising group, which works on all the deals necessary to create a commercial (whether broadcast, social media, or experiential), and the interactive entertainment space, which was traditionally video game development and that genre of entertainment. I was sitting at the right nexus where I had experience in these interactive forms of entertainment and experience in advertising. Influencers straddle those two spaces within the law.”
Dorian recommends keeping up with the industry trades. He says, “Try to end up in the same physical spaces, too. Go to TwitchCon, Comic Con, VidCon. Go build that network of people in your life and they’ll turn to you.”
He adds that living in states where influencers live is helpful. “You’re not going to be stuck in LA or New York for your entire life, but if this is something you want to do then be prepared to spend at least a couple years of your life on either of the coasts.”
In conclusion Dorian says, “If you look back, it was unusual to make a bunch of money off social media, but now you’d be surprised if you tap into your network and realize how many people are making some kind of money, if not their entire income, off of social media, gaming, or some kind of interactive entertainment. As the industry expands, we will see further sophistication in how influencers are represented. He says, “We’re already seeing influencers evolve the same way that traditional talent and TV and movies have evolved, to the extent that we’re now seeing agencies like talent representation for influencers only.”
Read the full article here.
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