Independent Producers and Networks Reach Impasse in Terms of Trade Talks



    Broadcasters refuse to engage in one-on-one negotiations with CFTPA

    TORONTO, Aug. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Terms of Trade negotiations between the
Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) and the major
Canadian broadcast groups have reached an impasse before even formally getting
underway, after CTVglobemedia, Canwest Global and Rogers Broadcasting refused
to negotiate with the CFTPA on a broadcaster-by-broadcaster basis, insisting
instead on a group negotiation with all three broadcast groups at the table.
    "I am disappointed and surprised that the broadcasters are advocating an
approach that would not and could not lead to serious, substantive and
enforceable Terms of Trade agreements," said the CFTPA's Principal Advisor on
Terms of Trade, Gordon Ritchie.
    Terms of Trade are framework agreements aimed at defining and valuing
program rights. These framework agreements would apply to individual
negotiations between broadcasters and producers, which producers hope will
mitigate the severe imbalances in negotiating power that have been created by
the broadcaster consolidation of recent years.
    Discussions between the two sides over whether negotiations should be
undertaken with the broadcasters as a group or on a broadcaster-by-broadcaster
basis had been ongoing in the weeks leading up to the first meeting between
the parties, held at the end of July. This was followed by another meeting
yesterday. The refusal of the broadcast groups to negotiate with the CFTPA
one-on-one has precluded substantive negotiations from commencing.
    "We have been ready and willing - even eager - to negotiate for some
time. But in our view, a group negotiation can only lead to a race to the
bottom, with the resulting agreement loaded with high-minded principles, but
lacking in specifics and substance," said CFTPA President and CEO Guy Mayson.
    John Barrack, CFTPA Executive Vice-President and Counsel, noted that a
collectively negotiated agreement would likely be so vague as to be
unenforceable.
    "Enforceability is predicated on specificity," said Barrack. "The more
vague the agreement, the less enforceable - and less meaningful - it is. Our
members have told us that their sustainability depends on having Terms of
Trade that are clear, specific and binding on both sides. We are far more
likely to achieve those aims by negotiating with each broadcast group
individually."
    A variety of options are being explored by the CFTPA negotiating team to
try to break the impasse and commence negotiations, Ritchie said.
    "The reality is that all of us are facing significant time pressures to
reach an agreement," said Mayson. "The CRTC expects each broadcast group to
have concluded an agreement with the CFTPA in time for the submission of their
licence renewal applications, which will likely be due later this year. This
means that we need to be engaged in real, substantive bargaining throughout
the fall."

    The CFTPA is a non-profit trade organization that works on behalf of
almost 400 small and medium-sized businesses engaged in the production and
distribution of English-language television programs, feature films, and
interactive media products in all regions of Canada. The CFTPA promotes the
general interests of members provincially, federally, and internationally;
negotiates and manages labour agreements with guilds and unions; administers
copyright collectives; trains new industry entrants through several national
internship programs; and undertakes a number of other specific initiatives
that help increase awareness and enhance communication within the Canadian and
international production communities. The independent production sector
directly or indirectly employs more than 61,000 people in communities across
Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Susan Smith, Bluesky Strategy Group, (613)
371-0624, susan@blueskystrategygroup.com

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CANADIAN FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCTION ASSOCIATION

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