covid-19: see advice in the Freelance.

Broadcasting / BBC and national TV

Rates are highest for Group A - network television - and get progressively lower down to Group D - local radio.

Most rates here are minima specified in an NUJ agreement with the BBC, which will serve as a guide to rates for other broadcasters. In the Independent Television sector, Channel 5 pays least well among terrestrial channels and satellite and cable stations are, similarly, at the low end.

Rates that are * starred, such as those for expert interviewees (pundits) and production shifts are not part of the agreement but are "going rates".

The agreement also specifies Group F rates, covering use of words on broadcasters' websites.

* Uploaded 0101/1010/20202020: if you have a printout, check the current version at www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide/BrBBCRat.html

Please note that the suggested rates below are minima; that rates for copyright works are for limited licences; and that VAT is not included.
See notes on negotiating rates and *find a freelance

The suggested rates (Know a better rate? tell us!)
For full definitions of the categories, click on their names
* See also: reported rates, to compare: Broadcasting / BBC and national TV
RATES: A: Network television
BBC and national TV category: see glossary!

All but one of these rates are set down in a house agreement between the NUJ and the BBC, which was due to run until 31 July 2020 but is extended due to covid-19.

The exception is the * starred rate which is based on freelance reports.

The terms of art for kinds of work in national TV are explained in the glossary.

Supplied video, up to 8 seconds, not less than * GBP 307.00
Day rate, reporting or producing, buyout GBP 273.00
Daily buyout (Fixing or producing for non-on-air/non-website work) GBP 170.00
Track GBP 89.00
Phono up to 4 min GBP 69.00
Phono over 4 min GBP 97.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) plus guest/donut GBP 108.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) off base with correspondent solo set up GBP 100.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) at bureau/fixed point or with producer/camera support GBP 81.00
Track and PTC (Piece To Camera) GBP 121.00
Track and PTC and rushes GBP 193.00
Action Rant/Show & tell with interview GBP 181.00
Self-shot PTC GBP 162.00
Action Rant/Show & tell with own equipment GBP 157.00
Action Rant/Show & tell without own equipment GBP 132.00
Rushes GBP 90.00
Dynamic Junction (channel promos) commissioned specifically, not when already filming GBP 47.00
Set up fee for lives away from base/home ADD GBP 22.00
Interview: assumes half day shoot and half day edit GBP 230.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned NFU, WNA, etc., shot and edited on own equipment GBP 1452.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, shot on own equipment GBP 1111.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, edited (not shot) on own equipment GBP 727.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned NFU, WNA, etc. GBP 559.00
Long feature (4min - 6min) commissioned NFU, WNA, On Demand etc, incl. 2min30 cut down GBP 839.00
Newsnight feature, 8min - 10min, incl. 2min30 cut down GBP 1129.00
Self-shot, self-authored edited piece without track GBP 1452.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, shot & edited on own equipment GBP 591.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, self-shot but not edited GBP 395.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, edited GBP 299.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, shot and edited with BBC equipment GBP 890.00
Live TV commentary (out of vision) up to 4 mins GBP 77.00
Live TV commentary (out of vision) over 4 mins GBP 98.00

Notes:

  • The rates quoted above for shifts are going rates for 7 hours' work (8 hours with a break). Obviously charge more - at least pro rata - if you agree to work a longer shift.
  • Freelances should remember that if they are paid to work a shift they are entitled to paid time off on top - see Shift payments: tax and time off
  • Travel day and rates for features are negotiable at time of commissioning
  • Reworking or reversioning a TV or radio package or feature is negotiable with commissioning programme/desk
  • See also the notes for rates category B
RATES: B: Network radio and World Service news
BBC and national TV category: see glossary!

Most of these rates are set down in a house agreement between the NUJ and the BBC, which was due to run until 31 July 2020 but is extended due to covid-19.

The exceptions are the * starred rates which are based on freelance reports.

The terms of art for kinds of work in national TV are explained in the glossary.

Reporting day * GBP 142.50
Reporting half-day (minimum shift) * GBP 72.00
Production - night-shift (eg 22.00 - 06.00) add * GBP 69.00
Radio features, minimum fee GBP 334.00
Radio features, per minute * GBP 50.30
Talks - script & read, minimum fee * GBP 52.50
Talks - script & read, per minute * GBP 26.25
Talks - script only, minimum fee * GBP 40.70
Talks - script only, per minute * GBP 20.35
Straight piece/despatch researched and reported incl Generic Minute, up to 2 min GBP 77.00
Two-way / live top & tail, up to 4 min GBP 69.00
Two-way / live top & tail, over 4 min GBP 98.00
Straight piece/despatch researched and reported incl Generic Minute, over 2 min GBP 91.00
Recorded interview with Guests or Commentary or Rant (as live), up to 5 min GBP 132.00
Recorded interview with Guests or Commentary or Rant (as live), over 5 min GBP 171.00
Press Review GBP 120.00
Actuality / vox pop, not already included in another item, specifically requested by Desk GBP 61.00
Newscopy (without Generic Minute) GBP 24.00
Illustrated Despatch (with 1-2 clips), up to 2 min GBP 108.00
Short package/wrap (eg on the day, multiple voices and fx), over 2 min GBP 186.00
Long Feature (8 mins) for Analysis (WS Radio) GBP 677.00
Longer mixed packages for Business Daily and other sequence programmes (when commissioned at around 6 minutes) GBP 424.00
Feature, researched reported and edited GBP 335.00
Expert guest (pundit) (up to 30 min on-air) aim for * GBP 200.00
Expert guest (pundit) (between 4 and 6 min on-air) aim for * GBP 164.00
Expert guest (pundit) for news programmes (up to 4 min on-air) aim for * GBP 92.00
Expert guest (pundit) for discussion programmes (3-4 min on-air) * GBP 87.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmes (before 8 am and after 8 pm) * GBP 32.00
Live donut with guest(s) incl contributors, corr 2-way, links, actuality etc GBP 108.00
FOOC (From Our Own Correspondent) GBP 157.00
Meet and greet guests add expenses, anti-social hours uplift and a minimum of GBP 32.00

Notes:

  • The rates quoted above for packages are exclusive of expenses and research.
  • Increase the fee pro rata for packages longer than 7 minutes.
  • Some programmes pay considerably more than the fees quoted above. Twice as much is not uncommon. Talk to other freelances and negotiate.
  • Do not underestimate the time taken to research the package. It is usually possible to negotiate a multiple of the day rate - anything between 1 day and 2-3 days, depending on the complexity of the work.
  • Be clear about what the freelance is being commissioned to produce. Not all producers and programmes want the same from freelances. Some programmes demand that material is submitted fully edited, while others expect to edit the final package themselves.
  • Experienced broadcasters favour a daily or shift rate as this best reflects the amount of work done.
  • Major reworking of a radio despatch "will bring a separate payment when authorised by WDE", it says in the BBC house agreement. Who they?
  • Freelances should remember that if they are paid to work a shift they are entitled to paid time off on top - see Shift payments: tax and time off.
  • Claim expenses including a taxi to and from the studio for guest appearances.
RATES: C: Regional and the nations TV
BBC and national TV category: see glossary!

Freelances should negotiate starting from these figures - having checked local conditions with the Mother or Father of the NUJ Chapel; the Broadcasting Office will supply contact details to NUJ members.

These rates are * starred because they are not listed in the BBC House Agreement documents the editor has.

We do believe, however, that it is agreed that freelances working for the London regional operations get a 13.9 per cent uplift compared to what they'd have in other regions.

Production - day rate, experienced * GBP 240.00
Producer / Director day - experienced * GBP 230.00
Assistant producer day - experienced * GBP 186.00
Researching - day rate * GBP 171.00
Production - day rate, minimum * GBP 140.00
Junior researcher day - minimum * GBP 80.00
Guest or expert appearances (3-4 min on-air) * GBP 64.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmes * GBP 32.00

Notes:

  • Freelances should remember that if they are paid to work a shift they are entitled to paid time off on top - see Shift payments: tax and time off
  • Some station managers will insist that shift workers are paid as "casual staff" with tax and National Insurance deducted "at source"
  • The rates quoted above for shifts are going rates for 7 hours' work (8 hours with a break). Obviously charge more - at least pro rata - if you agree to work a longer shift
  • Expert guests should negotiate a pro rata increase in fees for anything over 4 minutes on air.
  • Claim expenses including a taxi to and from the studio for guest appearances
RATES: D: Local radio and the nations radio
BBC and national TV category: see glossary!

These rates are * starred because they are not listed in the BBC House Agreement documents the editor has.

Use them as a starting point for negotiation... and remember that if the region you're working in is London, you should get a 13.9 per cent uplift compared to other regional rates.

Reporting/production - day rate (more experienced broadcasters) * GBP 210.00
Reporting/production - day rate (beginners with some experience) * GBP 140.00
Reporting/production - day rate (novices straight from college) * GBP 101.00
Guest or expert appearances (3-4 min on-air) * GBP 64.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmes * GBP 32.00

Notes:

  • Remember that if you are paid to work a shift you are entitled to paid time off on top - see Shift payments: tax and time off.
  • Some station managers will insist that shift workers are paid as "casual staff" with tax and National Insurance deducted.
  • Some local stations will be reluctant to pay any fee for an expert being interviewed.
RATES: F: Agreed BBC News Online rates
BBC and national TV

The following rates for BBC News Online form part of a House Agreement with the BBC, which was due to run until 31 July 2020 but is extended due to covid-19.

Commissioned longform piece (usually over 1000 words) GBP 335.00
News piece (copy, colour, instant analysis) up to 800 words - with photos GBP 273.00
News piece (copy, colour, instant analysis) up to 800 words GBP 196.00
Feature/analysis re-versioned script commissioned with photos GBP 170.00
Feature/analysis re-versioned from a TV/radio script GBP 91.00
Copy to Quickfire - max for 24 hour period GBP 79.00
Text box GBP 77.00
Copy to Quickfire (single: no payment for Tweets) GBP 24.00
Agreements
Find a freelance

Browse a selection of NUJ freelances with relevant skills through the Freelance Directory:

More advice and links...
* BECTU/PACT production agreement independents - no longer specifies rates
[www.londonfreelance.org]
* Rates for the Job good, bad and ugly
* Join the NUJ to get individual advice & representation

Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to ffg@londonfreelance.org please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.