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Freelance Fees Guide
Broadcasting
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For update information see below and for latest version http://www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide/print.php?section=Broadcasting

Throughout the broadcasting industry fees tend to be led by those paid by the BBC, with which the NUJ has agreements on minimum terms.

They vary widely, however, because of the range of different jobs freelances undertake, the complexity and plethora of guidelines (some agreed with the NUJ, some not) and hugely varied budgets attached to each programme or station.

As always for freelances, the best advice is to know what other freelances are being paid - talk to other NUJ members - and negotiate. One senior radio producer advises: "Always raise the question of fees before agreeing to take on a commission. Freelances who do not will be paid minimum rates and will have lost any negotiating strength. No-one should be embarrassed - producers expect professionals to talk money and they need professionals to do the work."

Extensive negotiations between the NUJ and BBC resulted in the BBC dropping the copyright grab clause in their standard contract for radio features. It has been replaced by a licence which is exclusive for two years and non-exclusive thereafter. This is an improvement, but not satisfactory and the NUJ is working for further improvements. Of course, the standard contract remains on offer, but the freelance may be able to negotiate.

Payments for shifts

The suggested rates for shifts do not form part of a formal agreement, but broadly reflect accepted going rates.

Freelances who are offered payment at daily rates pro-rata to the staff rate for the grade of work they are being asked to do should stipulate that the rates should at least, if not above, the mid-point on the salary scale for that work - plus at least 18 per cent (to cover on-costs). Paid time off should be added automatically at the appropriate percentage rate, although managers may argue that freelances are paid as "casual staff" with tax and NI being deducted at source: see Shift payments - tax and time off.

Broadcasting contents:

BBC and national TV

Rates are largely set throughout the industry by NUJ agreements with the BBC on minima. In the ever-expanding independent production sector, however, freelances may have to negotiate hard - and invoice early and often.

Notes on negotiating rates for BBC and national TV

These are some things to remember when negotiating rates for broadcasting work for the BBC and national TV. And please send us your accounts of successful negotiations.

The rates negotiated with the BBC are posted soon as possible after the end of each July. They should serve as a guide for other broadcasters, bearing in mind the size of their audience.

The suggested rates: BBC and national TV (Know a better rate? tell us!)

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.

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 runs until 31 July 2019.

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 *GBP300.00
Daily buyout (Fixing or producing for non-on-air/non-website work) GBP165.00
Day rate, reporting or producing, buyout GBP266.00
TrackGBP87.00
Phono up to 4 minGBP67.00
Phono over 4 minGBP94.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) at bureau/fixed point or with producer/camera support GBP79.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) off base with correspondent solo set upGBP97.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) plus guest/donutGBP105.00
Track and PTC (Piece To Camera)GBP118.00
Set up fee for lives away from base/home ADDGBP21.00
RushesGBP88.00
Track and PTC and rushesGBP188.00
Self-shot PTCGBP162.00
Action Rant/Show & tell without own equipmentGBP128.00
Action Rant/Show & tell with own equipmentGBP153.00
Action Rant/Show & tell with interview GBP176.00
Dynamic Junction (channel promos) commissioned specifically, not when already filmingGBP46.00
Interview: assumes half day shoot and half day editGBP224.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, shot on own equipmentGBP1082.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned NFU, WNA, etc., shot and edited on own equipmentGBP1414.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned NFU, WNA, etc.GBP544.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, edited (not shot) on own equipmentGBP708.00
Long feature (4min - 6min) commissioned NFU, WNA, On Demand etc, incl. 2min30 cut downGBP817.00
Newsnight feature, 8min - 10min, incl. 2min30 cut downGBP1099.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, editedGBP291.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, self-shot but not editedGBP385.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, shot & edited on own equipmentGBP575.00
Self-shot, self-authored edited piece without trackGBP1414.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, shot and edited with BBC equipmentGBP867.00
Live TV commentary (out of vision) up to 4 minsGBP75.00
Live TV commentary (out of vision) over 4 minsGBP95.00

Notes: Broadcasting / BBC and national TV / A: Network television

  • 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
 
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 runs until 31 July 2019.

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 *GBP139.00
Reporting half-day (minimum shift) *GBP70.00
Production - night-shift (eg 22.00 - 06.00) add *GBP67.00
Radio features, per minuteGBP45.48
Radio features, minimum feeGBP326.00
Talks - script & read, minimum feeGBP47.46
Talks - script & read, per minuteGBP23.73
Talks - script only, minimum feeGBP36.78
Talks - script only, per minuteGBP18.40
Straight piece/despatch researched and reported incl Generic Minute, up to 2 minGBP75.00
Two-way / live top & tail, up to 4 minGBP67.00
Straight piece/despatch researched and reported incl Generic Minute, over 2 minGBP89.00
Two-way / live top & tail, over 4 minGBP95.00
Recorded interview with Guests or Commentary or Rant (as live), up to 5 minGBP128.00
Recorded interview with Guests or Commentary or Rant (as live), over 5 minGBP166.00
Press ReviewGBP117.00
Actuality / vox pop, not already included in another item, specifically requested by DeskGBP59.00
Newscopy (without Generic Minute)GBP23.00
Illustrated Despatch (with 1-2 clips), up to 2 minGBP105.00
Short package/wrap (eg on the day, multiple voices and fx), over 2 minGBP181.00
Feature, researched reported and editedGBP317.00
Long Feature (8 mins) for Analysis (WS Radio)GBP659.00
Longer mixed packages for Business Daily and other sequence programmes (when commissioned at around 6 minutes)GBP413.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmes (before 8 am and after 8 pm) *GBP32.00
Expert guest (pundit) for discussion programmes (3-4 min on-air) *GBP85.00
Expert guest (pundit) (up to 30 min on-air) aim for *GBP195.00
Expert guest (pundit) (between 4 and 6 min on-air) aim for *GBP160.00
Expert guest (pundit) for news programmes (up to 4 min on-air) aim for *GBP90.00
Live donut with guest(s) incl contributors, corr 2-way, links, actuality etcGBP105.00
Meet and greet guests add expenses, anti-social hours uplift and a minimum ofGBP31.00
FOOC (From Our Own Correspondent)GBP153.00

Notes: Broadcasting / BBC and national TV / B: Network radio and World Service news

  • 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.
 
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.

Guest or expert appearances (3-4 min on-air) *GBP62.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmes *GBP32.00
Production - day rate *GBP168.00
Researching - day rate *GBP167.00

Notes: Broadcasting / BBC and national TV / C: Regional and the nations TV

  • 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
 
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...

Reporting/production - day rate (more experienced broadcasters) *GBP142.00
Reporting/production - day rate (beginners with some experience) *GBP115.00
Reporting/production - day rate (novices straight from college) *GBP98.00
Guest or expert appearances (3-4 min on-air) *GBP62.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmes *GBP32.00

Notes: Broadcasting / BBC and national TV / D: Local radio and the nations radio

  • 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.
 
E: News online and printed use - BBC and national TV -
Up to 1-year on non-revenue generating websites: add80.00%
Use on a revenue-generating website: your share of revenue50.00%
Use in a print edition: add50.00%
24-hour use on non-revenue generating websites: add20.00%
 
 
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, valid until 31 July 2019.

News piece (copy, colour, instant analysis) up to 800 wordsGBP191.00
News piece (copy, colour, instant analysis) up to 800 words - with photosGBP266.00
Commissioned longform piece (usually over 1000 words)GBP326.00
Text boxGBP75.00
Copy to Quickfire (single: no payment for Tweets)GBP23.00
Copy to Quickfire - max for 24 hour periodGBP77.00
Feature/analysis re-versioned from a TV/radio scriptGBP89.00
Feature/analysis re-versioned script commissioned with photosGBP165.00

§ See: Photography / Broadcasting rates for use on air

 

Notes: Broadcasting / / All

  • Payments for a classified results service should be negotiated.

Commercial radio

Rates are largely set throughout the industry by the NUJ agreements with The Radio Centre (until 2007 named the Commercial Radio Companies' Association). At small and local stations, however, freelances may have to negotiate hard.

Notes on negotiating rates for Commercial radio

These are some things to remember when negotiating rates for commercial radio work. And please send us your accounts of successful negotiations.

Smaller stations will often try to get away with paying less than these rates - even those whose parent companies have agreed to them through the Commercial Radio Companies Association (in 2007 renamed The Radio Centre). We would much appreciate more reports of rates paid and NUJ members joining in discussion on negotiating them.

The suggested rates: Commercial radio (Know a better rate? tell us!)

The NUJ has long negotiated an annual agreement with the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) - renamed in 2007 The Radio Centre..

These rates represent the minima freelances should be paid when working for members of CRCA. The CRCA mainly represents the larger groups, including Capital/GWR, EMAP, Chrysalis and Scottish Radio Holdings. Freelances should try to negotiate with the most senior manager who can be found - who may not be based at the station they're actually working at.

Commercial radio -

These rates are from the last agreement we have: they should be uplifted by a further 5 per cent to keep up with BBC rates.

Shift (incl. reporting), day rate (between 4 and 8 hours)GBP104.00
College student or leaver within 6 months of completing course: day rate (for a day or half-day's exclusive engagement)GBP80.00
Ordered match report coverage (incl. previews, flashes and summaries)GBP55.00
Shift (incl. reporting), half-day rate (up to 4 hours)GBP52.00
News report (voice), first 2 minGBP30.00
Ordered calls for running match reportsGBP19.05
Ordered calls for running match reportsGBP19.05
Tip-off (supplied and used)GBP12.00
News report copy, ordered or submitted and broadcast (per item)GBP11.00
News report (voice), per extra minuteGBP10.00
Match results report onlyGBP4.49

§ See: Photography / Broadcasting rates for use on air

§ See: BECTU/PACT production agreement independents - no longer specifies rates <http://www.bectu.org.uk/advice-resources/agreements/pact-agreement-2003>

§ See: Suggested schedule of cancellation fees for shifts

§ See: Professional Indemnity insurance for NUJ members <http://www.imaginginsurance.co.uk/writers.html>

§ See: Suggested schedule of cancellation fees

§ See: BECTU going rates for camera work <http://www.bectu.org.uk/advice-resources/rates/freelance-camera-rates>

Notes: Broadcasting / / All

  • Payments for a classified results service should be negotiated.

Programme support

Broadcasting organisations, such as the BBC or Channel 4, often produce information-packed factsheets, glossy publications and web material to support their programmes.

Notes on negotiating rates for Programme support

Please bear in mind these general points about negotiating rates for work on programme support. And please send us your accounts of successful negotiations.

We haven not actually heard from anyone who has negotiated a limited-time licence. In fact some broadcasters are very keen to get assignment of all rights for one low fee. But it is always worth discussing time-limits as part of the negotiating process - as usual, asking "what do you actually want to do with the work?" is a good place to start.

Writers approached about programme support work should beware of indemnity clauses. Many contracts are lawyers' laundry lists that include both:

Obviously, it is in writers' interests to refuse blanket indemnities and decent editors will not press for them. One large book publisher recently agreed to change its contract wording to:

all statements in the Work purporting to be factual are true to the best of the Author's knowledge having undertaken proper and diligent research with respect hereto

We suggest using this as a starting point for negotiations over amending contracts that demand indemnities. NUJ members under pressure to sign can get advice on alternative wording, including a lawyer-generated alternative form of words, from the Freelance Office.

The suggested rates: Programme support (Know a better rate? tell us!)

Broadcasting organisations, such as the BBC or Channel 4, often produce information-packed factsheets, glossy publications and web material to support their programmes.

Editorial - Programme support -
Editing/sub-editing, per 1000 wordsGBP275.00
Project management/dayGBP220.00
Website design/dayGBP220.00
Editorial consultancy/dayGBP215.00
Editing/sub-editing: per dayGBP200.00
 
 
Writing and research - Programme support -
Writing or reporting per 1000 wordsGBP285.00
Writing or reporting per dayGBP180.00

§ See: Online / Writing and researching to compare

Notes: Broadcasting / / Writing and research

  • Broadcasting organisations often attempt to impose contracts that demand all rights and which may also impose further conditions, such as wide liabilities. The NUJ is resisting these and recommends that everyone always read all contracts carefully. See Notes on negotiating rates for Broadcasting / Programme support - and members of the NUJ should seek advice on such contracts from the Freelance Office if necessary.

Notes: Broadcasting / / All

  • Payments for a classified results service should be negotiated.
 

§ See: Photography / Broadcasting rates for use on air

This is updated to 2018-10-31 22:00:00; if you have a printout, check the current version at http://www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide/print.php?section=Broadcasting.

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.