Saturday, April 24, 2010

Guild signs milestone agreement with ITV

The Writers’ Guild has signed a milestone agreement with ITV to bring minimum fees more into line with current standards and introduce 100% advances on many shows for the first time.

The main points of the deal were agreed and implemented in the autumn of 2007, but it has taken since then to complete negotiations on the detail and the precise wording of the agreement and contract.

The key points are:
  • Minimum fees of £11,500 per hour for original teleplays; £9,000 per hour for series and serials; and £3,000 per half-hour for long-running series similar to Coronation Street or Emmerdale. The Guild has now lodged a claim for increases to take effect from 1 July this year
  • 7.5 % pension contribution for paid-up Guild members
  • A new 100% 'subsequent use advance' – although this does not apply to long-running series, regional, digital-only or daytime commissions. This brings ITV into line with the Guild’s BBC and PACT TV agreementsLower repeat fees – a residual payment of 50 per cent for peak time, 25 per cent for daytime and shoulder peak, and 15 per cent for night-time, with a 25 per cent discount for any repeat within seven days of the first transmission. The Guild agreed this concession because it believes it will keep UK material on screens in preference to cheap imported shows – particularly in daytime slots – and therefore maximise the payments flowing to our members
  • Establishment of a Forum which will meet quarterly to keep the terms and conditions under review, agree terms for new services, and deal with any problems or complaints relating to the agreement or experienced by writers commissioned under the agreement.
Other parties to the agreement are the Personal Managers’ Association – the trade body covering agents who represent many successful and established TV writers; and Scottish Television, which took part in the negotiations and is expected to sign up to the deal in the near future.

All parties are committed to further negotiations on payments to writers working for digital channels such as ITV 2, 3 and 4. As part of the negotiations ITV has made a lump-sum payment to the Writers’ Guild to cover the use of programmes on the ITVplayer internet catch-up service between 2007 and 2009 and it is planned that this money will be distributed to writers later this year. New negotiations will follow to establish a permanent system of payments for the catch-up service from January 2010 onwards.

Guild General Secretary Bernie Corbett said: 'Although it has taken a long time to tie up the loose ends, and we still need to tackle some new areas, this has been an amicable and successful negotiation bringing solid benefits to all sides.' He thanked members of the Guild Executive and TV Committee who have participated in the negotiations, including Gail Renard, J.C. Wilsher, Katharine Way, Robert Taylor and Ming Ho.

The full text of the agreement can be downloaded from the Writers’ Guild website (pdf). Any member with questions or problems about the agreement should contact the Guild office.

Happy signatories, shortly after signing the new ITV agreement (from left): Fiona Williams, Chair of the Personal Managers’ Association, Bernie Corbett, General Secretary of the Writers’ Guild, and Justine Rhodes, ITV Controller of Business Affairs.

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