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Uploaded 2011-09-17 00:00:00; for current version see http://www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide/print.php?§ion=Broadcasting

Throughout the broadcasting industry fees tend to be led by those paid by the BBC, with which the NUJ has a number of 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.

Broadcast journalism is certainly not the best-paid area of the media and often rates are, quite simply, poor.

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 have finally 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 It has been replaced by a licence which is exclusive for two years and non-exclusive thereafter.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.

Some rates, such as those for expert interviewees 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!

These rates are set down in a house agreement between the NUJ and the BBC, which runs until 31 July 2016.

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

Supplied video, up to 8 seconds, not less thanGBP270.00
Day rate, reporting or producing, buyout GBP247.00
Daily buyout (Fixing or producing for non-on-air/non-website work) GBP153.00
TrackGBP80.00
Phono up to 4 minGBP62.00
Phono over 4 minGBP87.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) at bureauGBP72.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) off base with correspondent solo set upGBP90.00
TV Live / DTL (Down the Line) plus guest/donutGBP98.00
Track and PTC (Piece To Camera)GBP110.00
Track and PTC and rushesGBP174.00
RushesGBP81.00
Set up fee for lives away from base/homeGBP20.00
Self-shot PTCGBP152.00
Action Rant/Show & tell without own equipmentGBP119.00
Action Rant/Show & tell with own equipmentGBP142.00
Action Rant/Show & tell with interview GBP164.00
Dynamic Junction (channel promos) commissioned specifically, not when already filmingGBP43.00
Interview: assumes half day shoot and half day editGBP209.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned NFU, WNA, etc., shot and edited on own equipmentGBP1313.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned NFU, WNA, etc.GBP505.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, shot on own equipmentGBP1005.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, edited (not shot) on own equipmentGBP657.00
Long feature (4min - 6min) commissioned NFU, WNA, On Demand etc, incl. 2min30 cut downGBP750.00
Newsnight feature, 8min - 10min, incl. 2min30 cut downGBP1020.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, editedGBP269.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, self-shot but not editedGBP357.00
News piece 1min45 - 2min, shot & edited on own equipmentGBP535.00
Self-shot, self-authored edited piece without trackGBP1313.00
Feature (2min30 - 3min), commissioned as above, shot and edited with BBC equipmentGBP805.00
Live TV commentary (out of vision) up to 4 minsGBP70.00
Live TV commentary (out of vision) over 4 minsGBP88.00

Notes:

  • The rates quoted above for shifts are going rates for 7 hours' work (8 hours with a break). Charge more pro rata for the increasingly common 10-hour shifts.
  • 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
  • See also the notes for rates category B.
B: Network radio and World Service news - BBC and national TV - category: see glossary!

The terms of art for kinds of work in network radio are explained in the glossary.

Reporting dayGBP133.00
Reporting half-day (minimum shift)GBP66.50
Production - night-shift (eg 22.00 - 06.00) addGBP60.00
Radio features, minimum feeGBP318.30
Radio features, per minuteGBP45.48
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 minGBP70.00
Two-way / live top & tail, up to 4 minGBP62.00
Two-way / live top & tail, over 4 minGBP88.00
Straight piece/despatch researched and reported incl Generic Minute, over 2 minGBP82.00
Recorded interview with Guests or Commentary or Rant (as live), up to 5 minGBP119.00
Recorded interview with Guests or Commentary or Rant (as live), over 5 minGBP154.00
Press ReviewGBP109.00
Actuality / vox pop, not already included in another item, specifically requested by DeskGBP55.00
Newscopy (without Generic Minute)GBP22.00
Illustrated Despatch (with 1-2 clips), up to 2 minGBP98.00
Short package/wrap (eg on the day, multiple voices and fx), over 2 minGBP168.00
Feature, researched reported and editedGBP303.00
Long Feature (8 mins) for Analysis (WS Radio)GBP612.00
Longer mixed packages for Business Daily and other sequence programmes (when commissioned at around 6 minutes)GBP383.00
Expert guest (up to 30 min on-air)GBP150.00
Expert guest (between 4 and 6 min on-air)GBP125.00
Expert guest - news programmes (up to 4 min on-air)GBP90.00
Expert guest - discussion programmes (3-4 min on-air)GBP65.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmes (before 8 am and after 8 pm)GBP25.00
Live donut with guest(s) incl contributors, corr 2-way, links, actuality etcGBP98.00
Meet and greet guests add expenses, anti-social hours uplift and a minimum ofGBP28.00
Meet and greet guests add expenses, anti-social hours uplift and a minimum ofGBP28.00
FOOC (glossary to come)GBP142.00

Notes:

  • The rates quoted above for packages were negotiated with the BBC in 2005 and 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.
  • 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.

Reporting - day rateGBP150.00
Production - day rateGBP150.00
Researching - day rateGBP150.00
Guest or expert appearances (3-4 min on-air)GBP56.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmesGBP25.00

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
  • The rates quoted above for shifts are going rates for 7 hours' work (8 hours with a break). Charge more pro rata for the increasingly common 10-hour shifts.
  • 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!
Reporting/production - day rate (more experienced broadcasters)GBP129.00
Reporting/production - day rate (beginners with some experience)GBP105.00
Reporting/production - day rate (novices straight from college)GBP89.00
Guest or expert appearances (3-4 min on-air)GBP56.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmesGBP25.00
Disturbance fee for appearing on early or late programmesGBP25.00

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.
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 2015, averaging a shade over 1 per cent increase on the previous agreement. Exceptions are starred*, and are pro rata from previous agreements.

News piece (copy, colour, instant analysis) up to 800 wordsGBP177.00
Commissioned longform piece (usually over 1000 words)GBP303.00
Feature/analysis, original material for News Online *GBP274.00
Feature/analysis re-versioned script commissioned with photosGBP153.00
Copy to Quickfire (single: no payment for Tweets)GBP22.00
Copy to Quickfire - max for 24 hour periodGBP71.00
Feature/analysis re-versioned from a TV/radio scriptGBP82.00
Blog *GBP83.00
Text boxGBP70.00
Short news piece/summary, up to 350 words *GBP83.00

§ See: Photography / Broadcasting rates for use on air

Notes:

  • 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, uplifted by the same amount as 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:

  • 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 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:

  • Payments for a classified results service should be negotiated.

§ See: Photography / Broadcasting rates for use on air

Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. 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.