As the economics of broadcasting change, we know that production companies are getting squeezed with lower budgets from broadcasters and compressed deadlines. The squeeze is passed directly on to the frontline workers who face downward pressure on their pay while taking on more responsibilities and longer work days. Something has to give.
We’ve urged the CRTC to require broadcasters to sign “terms of trade” agreements with the independent producers’ association, the CMPA. The only hammer independent producers have to get a framework agreement is for the CRTC to require it. Without one, each individual producer is at the mercy of whatever the increasingly large and powerful broadcasters want.
We’ve also asked the CRTC to maintain rules requiring that broadcasters commission a certain amount of independent production, and to prevent “producer of record” deals from counting as independent production. “Producer of record” deals allow the broadcaster to have all the rights of a producer without producing the content while leaving all the risks of financing and production with the independent producer. These types of deals are becoming more common and are only possible because independent producers have so little clout with broadcasters at the moment. The CRTC has to step in or the industry – and especially workers – will suffer even worse conditions.