Jacksons vs AEG - Day 58 – July 29 2013 – Summary

No Jackson family member was in court.

Eric Briggs Testimony

AEG direct

Strong asked about Briggs opinion on the completion of the 50 shows agreed by Michael Jackson at the time of his death. The expert said it was speculative to assume MJ would complete all 50 shows in London. A slide shown to the jury relates to a world tour that would be speculative, Briggs said. (ABC7)

Slide: Erk's TII Tour: Speculative 1- No agreement beyond 50 shows 2- MJ's drug use 3- MJ's history if cancellations 4- World tour depends on completion of 50 shows a- Performance Risk b- Execution Risk

However, Briggs said numbers 1 and 2 also relates to the 50 shows in London. Briggs said MJ's history and manner of drug use and lasting affects are supporting basis for opinion that 50 shows were speculative. “MJ had a significant history of canceling projects, even if they were reasonably sure to happen," Briggs said. (ABC7)

Briggs said he evaluated Mr. Erk's numbers regarding the 260 shows. Jacksons atty Brian Panish asked for sidebar. It lasted 23 minutes. (ABC7)

Brigg’s opinion is that it’s speculative to assume that Jackson would have completed the 50 “This Is It” shows. He also thinks it’s speculative that Jackson would have performed a 260 show world tour, as plaintiff’s expert Arthur Erk projected. Briggs told the jury two main points for his opinion are Jackson’s history of canceling shows and his prescription drug usage. (AP)

Regarding the 260 shows Erk calculated, Briggs said the expert's projection was unprecedented for gross ticket sales and revenue perspective . Briggs said the highest grossing tour ever is U2 360 Show, which generated $736 million in ticket sales and merchandise. (ABC7) Erk had estimated Jackson would earn more than $1 billion on touring, merchandise and endorsement deals if he had lived. Briggs however said Erk’s estimates were out of line with Jackson’s history, and the history of other successful tours. (AP)

Tour Gross Revenues: Tickets/Merchandise 1- U2: $736 million 2- Rolling Stones: $558 million 3- AC/DC: $441 million 4- Madonna: $408 million

Briggs said what's actually received by the artist is much smaller that the gross number and it is based on the expenses of the tour. If the production is expensive, Briggs said the net to AC/DC members could be higher than the net to U2 members, even though U2 grossed more. (ABC7) 

MJ's Highest Grossing Tours: HISTORY generated $165 million for 82 dates in 1996-97 BAD generated $126 million for 120 shows . Briggs said the Dangerous tour was not included because it was not reflected in the list of highest grossing tours of all times. Dangerous tour was cut short due because MJ entered rehab, Briggs explained. (ABC7)

Although one of Briggs’ charts wasn’t shown to the jury, he did see one showing revenues of the top 4 highest-grossing concert tours ever. U2’s 360 tour tops the list with $736 million in ticket sales and merchandise, although Briggs says that’s not how much the band made. The Rolling Stonesand AC/DC are the #2 and #3 on the list, with Madonna ranking as the top-grossing solo artist at $408 million. Those are gross figures, and Briggs says it’s not clear how much each artist took home from their tours. He contrasted that with Jackson’s HIStory tour, which grossed $165 million, and the Bad tour, which grossed $126 million. The Dangerous tour didn’t make the list because it was cut short. Briggs would later show a chart showing it lost money. (AP)

For the “This Is It” shows, AEG Live projected gross ticket sales of between $94 and $107 million. (AP) AEG's Predicted Future Tours: Prod 1: $94 million Prod 2: $107 million (ABC7)

Strong asked Briggs how AEG's 2009 Budget compare. Erk projected $1.65 billion for 260 shows tour, he answered. "Clearly this is in excess of anything we've ever seen in the history around the world," Briggs opined. Briggs said Mr. Erk was projecting $900 million to be paid to MJ as net for tickets, endorsements and merchandising. Based on the record, this amount was nowhere near what MJ had brought home in the past, Briggs testified. Briggs said Paul Gongaware testified MJ's Dangerous tour lost money, it was not profitable. He also testified HIStory tour was a break even. Net is the value of tickets and merchandising minus all the costs to put on the show, Briggs explained. Regarding the HIStory tour, Briggs said, based on Gongaware's testimony, there must have been costs that made the tour break even. "What's implied is that MJ did not generate any significant net from this tour," Briggs said. (ABC7) 

Plaintiff’s expert Arthur Erk projected as more than $1 billion in revenue for Jackson from ticket sales and merchandise on a world tour. Briggs: “Clearly this figure is in excess of what we’ve seen in the history of the world.” He then showed a slide depicting Jackson’s proceeds from previous tours. HIStory broke even, he said, and Dangerous lost money. (AP)

Briggs testified that AEG's budget shows that MJ, if he completed all 50 show shows, would've taken home between $22 and $31 million. This amount included tickets and merchandising, but not endorsement, Briggs said. Briggs: As Jun 2009, no endorsement was in place, no sponsorhip was in place. AEG Live had taken steps to secure them but none were in place (ABC7) Michael Jackson would have earned between $22-$30 million for the “This Is It” shows, if he completed the 50 concerts in London. (AP) 

Briggs spent several minutes telling the jury that Erk’s figures were speculative and weren’t rooted in history. (AP) Briggs said Erk projected MJ would net $890 million from a 260 world tour shows between tickets, merchandising, endorsements and sponsorship. "I don't know how anyone can be reasonably certain this would occur," Briggs said. The highest grossing tour of all times was U2's 360, Briggs said, which was $736 million. Erk's projection for MJ to net was way above that. "It's completely out of line of with history, with MJ's own history and history of all other tours," Briggs opined. (ABC7)

If there's no tour, there's no merchandise, the expert said. Briggs' experience with endorsement relates to working with the estate of major artists, like Elvis and Frank Sinatra. They were approached many times by large companied to put their names on products to sell. (ABC7)

Briggs explained the industry uses a "Q" score data, which draws the likability of a celebrity or persona. Briggs said there are two major types of factors that companies take into consideration to select artist to endorse: 1- history in securing endorsement, relationship with previous sponsors 2- how predictable the artist is, how stable his/her actions are. "Companies are looking for safe bets," Briggs said. "They don't want to take big risks with their products." Briggs explained the companies are concerned about what general public thinks of the artist/celebrity. Briggs: The tour gross relates to people being interests in seeing someone perform. MJ was a great performer. But there's a difference between excellence as performance of stage and whether the company wants to align itself w/ performer, Briggs said. Briggs said the "Q" score data associated with MJ analyzed his albums' sales, actions taken by AEG, and MJ's stability and predictability. Briggs explained data companies calls people and ask how much they like a certain artist, their "Q" score. They then report the results back to the brand company to decide how safe a bet an artist is. Briggs received two sets of data: MJ likability MJ comparative group (Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Justin Timberlake). Judge wanted to know what kind of questions the company asks people in the survey. Briggs said the question is about the person's impression of the artist, with normally 3-5 choices for answer. The questions are not as much if a person would buy a product, but their impression of the artist, Briggs explained. "Q" score survey: Question: What's your general impression of individual/celebrity? Answers: One of my Favorites, Very Good, Good, Fair/Poor. Briggs said it's useful to look at comparison w/ other artists, how they stack up against others that are similar to the artist in question. Briggs said there's data for "Q" score from 1990 to 2006, with some gaps. There's no "Q" score data between 2006 and 2009. (ABC7)

AEG defense attorney Sabrina Strong asked about Jackson’s prospects for an endorsement deal, which led Briggs into a discussion of Q Scores. Q Scores weigh the broad likeability of an artist based on a survey. Companies use the data to determine their celebrity spokespeople. Briggs: “Companies are looking for safe bets.” He uses Q Scores in his work advising clients and pulled data on Jackson from 1990-2006. There were several years of Q Scores missing for Jackson, and no surveys of his likability were taken after 2006. The judge was interested in how Q Score data is obtained, so Briggs explained it in further detail. Respondents are asked to rank celebrities in one of four likability categories: “One of my favorites” Very good. Good Fair/ poor. ackson’s scores generally declined after 1993, although there were some years in the early 2000s that his scores improved. By 2006, the last year Jackson’s Q Score was evaluated, he had a -7.4 rating. It had declined a lot from 2003 on. The rating means there were 7 times more people who responded unfavorably to Jackson than those who answered he was one of their favorites. Artists are rated against contemporaries. Briggs said in 1990, MJ was groups with MC Hammer, Billy Joel, Don Henley and Kenny Rogers. He didn’t explain who Jackson was grouped with on the survey in the 2000s, although Justin Timberlake was name as a possibility. (AP)

Strong showed a chart of MJ's "Likability," which Declined After 1993. The chart shows a Negative-Positive Impression. Briggs said that in 2006, there was 1 (one) person with positive impression for every 7.4 people with negative impression of MJ. Briggs said in 1993, MJ's likability was pretty well in line with other artists. From that point, it declined substantially. In 2006, Briggs said the chart shows that there were 7.4 negative impressions for 1 positive regarding Michael Jackson. Briggs explained that in 1993 there was a start of some significantly negative headlines associated with MJ, his drug abuse and other issues . There's no data available from 2006 to 2009. Briggs said he requested the data but was unable to get it. He said if someone's likability is so negative, they take those people off the list, since no company would want to align itself with them. (ABC7)

Briggs testified that he studied "Q score" data for Jackson, the trend of his album sales and his stability to conclude that Jackson had a low chance of earning money from endorsements and sponsorships. Briggs said that while Jackson was "a great performer" companies decide which celebrities to align their products with based on "likability" as measured by "Q scores." Jackson's "Q score" in 1993 was in line with the average male musical performer, with about one person of every two surveyed saying they liked him, Briggs said. That was the year Jackson announced he had a problem with painkillers, and he entered rehab.His score became dramatically negative over the next decade, Briggs said. By 2006, a year after he was acquitted in a child molestation trial, more than seven people said they disliked Jackson for every one who said they liked him, Briggs testified. Companies would be "very anxious" about putting someone with such negative "likability" next to their products, he said. (CNN)

"Brand companies appreciate artists can be great performers, but that doesn't mean they want to put their names next to the performers," Briggs said. According to him, Jackson's image rebounded somewhat in the 1990s, but it plummeted again in 2003 for several reasonss. For big-name labels, Jackson was a risk, because new scandals could emerge without warning, Briggs explained, and "brands are looking for predictability." (AFP)

Judge asked Briggs if MJ could've been compared to an individual artist, such as Justin Timberlake, as opposed to a group of similar artists. He said the norm is to compare with the average of the group with the artist in question. (ABC7)

Negative headlines about drugs and sex abuse charges greatly diminished Michael Jackson's earning potential, an entertainment 
consultant said. Jackson's album sales dropped sharply from his peak and his "likability" rating turned dramatically negative after "significantly negative headlines, drug abuse and other issues," Eric Briggs testified. (CNN)

Briggs said Mr. Erk specified album unit sales for five of MJ's albums. "It also showed a significant decline," Briggs said. MJ's albums sale: 1982 -- Thriller -- 65 million 1987 -- Bad -- 45 million 1991 -- Dangerous -- 32 million 1995 -- HIStory -- 20 million 2001 -- Invincible -- 13 million (ABC7)

Briggs testified MJ had a significant issue in the media related to negative headlines in a broad of topics. That would impact a company's decision on endorsements/sponsorship. Companies are focused on selling, Briggs said. The expert explained there was a significant audience that wanted to see MJ perform. (ABC7)

He said AEG took steps to secure endorsements and sponsorships but was unable to do so. "I don't know how he can predict that all of the sudden the light switch would be turned on" Briggs said about Erk's endorsement projection. The expert said there were no endorsement or sponsorship deals at the time of MJ's death. (ABC7)

Briggs moved on to discussions of album sales, which declined over Jackson’s career, and he attacked the premise of a Vegas tribute show. Tribute shows only work if the artist is dead, Briggs said. He said Erk’s projections for a tribute show were also speculative. (AP)

Strong asked why Las Vegas deal was speculative. Briggs said there was nothing in the works, no budget, agreement or financing. Beyond that, there's no real precedent for living, touring artist, who has a tribute show. Briggs testified there aren't any meaningful, premium-type of show, associated with a living performing artist. (ABC7)

"In my business, just expressing interest it doesn't mean it's going to happen," the expert opined. He said they were ideas and he sees ideas thrown around all the time. Briggs: Las Vegas is a very competitive market. Every hotel wants a show that appeals to a broad audience. "It's hard to make big bets if there are high questions about likability and predictability." "Entertainment is about finding an audience," Briggs said. "No one can predict if it will be successful until you sell the tickets." Briggs said his understanding is that MJ's Estate did not agree to AEG's proposed Las Vegas tour. (ABC7)

Lastly, he discussed films and whether Jackson was assured of success in the film industry. His opinion was that MJ wasn’t assured success. (AP)

Briggs said in Erk's projection, MJ would go into movies, but he did not provide figures in this regard. Briggs' "Film Production Process": - Ideas - Development/Packaging - Financing - Pre-production planning – Production - Post production - Advertising - Distribution - Theatrical release - Profits? . Briggs said there were efforts taking place at one point for MJ to make movies. He considers it to be in the development phase. "It absolutely does not mean it would be getting to the end of the process," Briggs opined. Briggs said the decision to make films is multimillion dollar one. The commitment is very serious, you can't make movie w/ a million dollars. "A movie can be hundreds of millions of dollars," Briggs said. And a lot needs to be in place, like audience, distributors, etc. He said just advertising a movie in the US can be 50+ million dollars. Briggs said the last feature film MJ was associated w/ "Miss Cast Away," released in 2004-05 and it went straight to video, not in theaters. Briggs said that even at the distribution phase, it doesn't mean film will be profitable/successful. "It's all a risk up until this point." Only after 3-6 weeks in the theater it's possible to figure out if the movie is profitable or not, Briggs said. Briggs named some big films that have been disappointments: John Carter, Battleship, Jack the Giant Killer. Briggs: These movies had big actors, big dollars, big movie studios and big decision process that can't always be right. Each studio releases 15-20 films/year, Briggs said, and only about half of them are known to the public. "Just because you make something it doesn't mean it will go on to critical success," Briggs said. (ABC7)

Briggs: Mr. Erk simply stated he believed Michael would do movies. Briggs said there were periods of times where MJ would have great connections in the movie industry, then fire them only to hired them back. Great connections do not equate that things will get done, let alone be successful," Briggs testified. Briggs: "Not everything that's attempted is a resounding success." Regarding MJ's personal history with respect to feature films, Briggs was emphatic: "I do not believe MJ was successful," the expert said. "Even Mr. Erk said he was not successful in movies," Briggs said. Briggs: I don't know how anyone can project, with reasonable certainty, that MJ would be successful at making movies. (ABC7)

Court broke for the day, and there were brief arguments by plaintiff’s attorney Brian Panish about Briggs’ billing records. Panish wants detailed records of the work Briggs has done on the AEG case and said the expert’s firm has been paid $600-$700k so far. Panish said he also wants to know what other work Briggs has done for AEG Live so he can address his “bias” on cross-examination. (AP)

Rebbie Jackson was to testify on Wednesday but is sick. Other witnesses expected this week: Debbie Rowe and Randy Jackson via video depo. (ABC7)