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26/02/2002

BBC's treatment of our members is unfair says PACT

The Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), the trade association that represents the interests of independent film, television, animation and interactive media production companies, have responded angrily to what they call the "unfair treatment of its members" by the BBC.
Following Greg Dyke’s well-publicised call to "make it happen" at the BBC, PACT has repeated a call to its members to report any unfair dealing by the BBC.
Due to mounting numbers of individual complaints from members, in October PACT re-issued to all members the BBC Terms of Trade which guarantee the basis on which independent producers supply programmes to the BBC.
John McVay, PACT’s Chief Executive, said: “The sheer volume of complaints about the BBC that flow into the PACT offices across the country indicate that in effect, the BBC has already strayed a long way from our existing agreement. We will be presenting a dossier of abuses to the BBC in due course.”
Mr McVay also pointed out that the move was not made out of malice as it "in everyone's interests to have a strong BBC". He stressed that PACT could not but respond in a robust fashion on behalf of its members.
Grievances include drama producers being offered non-negotiable, flat-rate production fees which are less than the agreed Terms of Trade percentage-based fees and producers being barred from “licence fee” deals because the BBC typically offers only 20 per cent to 30 per cent of a budget for their transmission rights. Also highlighted were the so-called 'arms length' arrangements between the BBC and BBC Worldwide and the PACT members.
Eileen Gallagher, PACT’s Chairperson, said: “The relentless problems that our members face in getting fair treatment from the BBC show that the corporation sees no benefit in assisting the growth of the independent sector. The small and medium-sized businesses that we represent are some of the most creative and entrepreneurial companies in the industry – but the BBC continues to treat them as suppliers for hire, and refuses to recognise the need for companies to invest in their own research and development.”
A BBC spokesperson would only confirm that "dialogue was ongoing" between PACT and corporation, and added that it was standard practice not to comment on ongoing negotiations.
PACT, www.pact.co.uk
(GMcG)
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