The Writers’ Guild has signed a new Radio Drama Agreement with the BBC, coming into force on 1 January 2006 – after more than four years of negotiations.
Guild Radio Committee Chair Alan Drury said: “The previous agreement was for a pre-digital world. As developments such as internet streaming and BBC7 occurred, they were dealt with by further agreements and licences. The result was Jarndycian complexity. All the extras are now part of the new agreement, and attract an increased fee.”
The main anomaly is the digital channel BBC7 using programmes commissioned before the end of 2005, where the current, separate arrangement will continue. Under the agreement a Radio Forum will be set up which will meet twice yearly to deal with new developments in radio and any fine-tuning the new agreement needs. A lot of contractual complexities have been streamlined, and the BBC has accepted it has no claim on a number of subsidiary rights.
Procedures for the BBC’s further exploitation of material are clearer, and decision making times have been shortened. The question of format rights has, at last, been directly addressed.
The parties to the agreement are the BBC, the Guild, the Society of Authors and the Personal Managers’ Association, representing writers’ agents. The Guild will be issuing a lay person’s guide in the next few months. Drury commented: “For radio, it’s been an epic process.”