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ITC offers guide on indie producers

Group outlines rights, tariffs

LONDON — U.K. TV regulator the Independent Television Commission on Monday published guidelines on how public service broadcasters should deal with indie producers.

The guidelines reflect extensive consultation carried out by the ITC as part of the program supply market review initiated in August by Tessa Jowell, the secretary of state of culture, media and sport. The review was launched after concerns that broadcasters were exploiting indie producers.

The Communications Bill, being debated in the House of Lords, the government’s upper chamber, outlines the issues that these codes must address.

The ITC recommends that the codes should define what a broadcaster considers the minimum primary rights to be, the duration of such rights and how negotiations for primary rights (terrestrial) will be conducted separately from secondary (cable and satellite) and tertiary rights (merchandising, video, DVD).

The regulator also recommends that broadcasters produce tariffs relating to fees for primary rights by genre and daypart.

In the event of disagreements between broadcaster and producer, it also suggests that a formal dispute procedure be set up.

Broadcasters have until the end of July to submit draft codes to the ITC for approval. Super regulator Ofcom and the ITC will review the proposals over the summer before putting recommendations to Ofcom for final approval.