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ITV DVD rights on PACT Agreement

By ManonPalmer
ITV   DVD rights on PACT Agreement

I have noticed that on several ITV productions that have been booked on PACT, ITV have bought out DVD rights when they should be paying a royalty. These productions include Mr Selfridge, Bletchley Circle, Mrs Biggs, Vera and Downton Abbey. ITV are clearly capable of operating a royalty system and do so on many of their older shows. I know that there are some instances in which it may be regarded as preferable to receive a buyout for DVD sales because it means that our artistes receive a guaranteed sum of money, however it also prevents our clients from benefitting in those cases where DVD sales are substantial.
I have raised this with Equity and Cathy Sweet is addressing the matter with James Bain, particularly in connection with Mr Selfridge. James Bain has said that the rationale behind pre-purchasing DVD rights was to make it easier to sell shows abroad and/or attract investment from overseas which is understandable, however, it does mean that our clients could be missing out on significant revenue from hit shows. I have suggested that in the case of Mr Selfridge, the 5% that has been paid to pre-purchase UK DVD rights be treated as an advance rather than a buyout but obviously if I am the only person challenging ITV over this, I’m unlikely to get very far. I would be interested to know what other agents think. A reminder of the wording from the PACT agreement is below.
* The video percentages shall not apply where the production is commissioned and/or financed by a UK Broadcaster, or any of its subsidiaries, who retain the video rights for distribution. In these circumstances the royalty provisions shall apply. The video percentages above shall only apply in the case of an overseas financier/distributor retaining the rights or where it can be demonstrated by a Producer to Equity that he/she is not in a position to operate a royalty mechanism. The percentages payable shall be subject to a minimum of two markets being acquired at any one time.