BECTU briefing Communications Bill: clause 273 - independent production quota12 March 2003
BECTU briefing on the UK Communications Bill: Clause 273 - independent production quota.
- BECTU supports the retention of the minimum 25% independent production quota in the form in which it currently operates. This has served both the viewers and the independent production sector well.
- We are aware of the current campaign - as expressed in evidence to the Puttnam Committee and to the ITC Review of Programme Supply - to amend the quota eg: - by switching to a quota based on value rather than hours; - by introducing a Code of Practice incorporating enforced equal access for independents to all broadcasters' in-house commissions.
- We oppose any such alterations which would have the affect of rolling-back broadcasters' in-house production capacity.
- We believe the corporate lobbying of the independent sector should not be accepted on its own terms:
- The independent sector has undergone significant concentration of ownership and now includes some companies larger than the small ITV licence-holders, and benefiting from 'preferred bidder' status.
- For independents to have equal access to all in-house commissions would, in the BBC, lead to the resurgence of the damaging internal market experiment, with wasteful transaction costs, chaotic employment practices and damage to programme-making capacity.
- The independent sector has not produced an adequate proportion of regional production; has not in our view, offered sufficient opportunities to ethnic minority producers; and has operated with poor employment practices and a 'long hours' culture.
- Public service broadcasters can only properly fulfil their regulatory obligations by retaining in-house capacity - allowing independents to focus on more commercially attractive genres.
- Broadcasters can take a longer-term view on programme investment, with greater creative risks.
- Despite cutbacks, broadcasters retain a larger base of genuinely regional production than the independents.
- The BBC in particular makes a decisive contribution to training the industry.
- A serious address to equal opportunities can only be made in the context of a stable rather than a casualised labour force.
- to redefine the terms of the quota so that it includes out-of-house productions commissioned from (other) ITV licence holders.
- so that the BBC, for example, could commission work from Tyne Tees and count this as part of its independent quota.
Last updated 17 March 2003