Independent Producers United on Eve of Talks

    English and French-language producers determined to reach fair deal with
    television networks

    OTTAWA and MONTREAL, July 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's two principal
independent producers groups expressed mutual support as each gets ready to
embark on negotiations aimed at securing fairer deals for program rights,
across a variety of delivery platforms and media, from the country's major
television broadcast networks.
    "Canadian independent producers are united in their determination to
negotiate terms of trade agreements that will ensure a sustainable independent
production sector in this country," stated Claire Samson, President and CEO of
the Association des producteurs de films et de television du Québec, the
organization that represents the majority of film and independent production
companies in Quebec. "We fully support our English-language production
partners in their negotiations with both the private and public
English-language networks."
    On Wednesday, the Canadian Film and Television Production Association
(CFPTA), which represents the majority of English-language independent
producers, is slated to sit down with CTV, Canwest Global and Rogers to begin
negotiating so-called "terms of trade" negotiations - framework agreements
aimed at defining and valuing program rights. These framework agreements would
apply to individual negotiations between broadcasters and producers for
program rights - something that producers hope will alleviate the severe
imbalances in negotiating power caused by broadcaster consolidation.
    The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
has mandated that all broadcasters negotiate terms of trade with English and
French-language independent producers. While the CFTPA will handle
negotiations with the English-language private networks, the public
educational networks outside Quebec, and the CBC, the APFTQ will be entering
into talks with the private French-language networks TVA and TQS, the TV5 and
Astral specialty channels, as well as with the public broadcasters,
Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec, later this fall.
    "The challenges that independent producers face, whether in Quebec or the
rest of the country, are essentially the same," said Guy Mayson, President and
CEO of the CFTPA. "The core issue for all of us is ensuring that the program
rights that independent producers license to broadcasters are properly defined
and valued. We believe that this is best achieved through terms of trade,
which would help mitigate the imbalance of negotiating power that currently
exists when individual independent producers negotiate program deals with
    Last week, the CFTPA announced that Gordon Ritchie, one of the principal
architects of the Free Trade Agreement, had joined their negotiating team. His
appointment reflects the high stakes with which independent producers view the
upcoming negotiations.
    "We regard this as the most important negotiation that either of our
organizations has ever entered into," stated Samson. "We will marshal all of
our collective efforts to ensure they are successful, for both the good of our
sector and to the benefit of the entire broadcasting system."

    The CFTPA is a non-profit trade organization that works on behalf of
almost 400 companies 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.

    The APFTQ represents the vast majority of film and independent production
companies in Quebec. It represents and defends the interests of its members
with governments and film- and television- related organizations, both federal
and provincial; offers its members consulting services on industrial
relations, copyright, financing and taxation; negotiates collective agreements
with Quebec-based artists' associations and technicians' unions; organizes an
annual convention involving the industry's key players; publishes an annual
economic profile of the production sector; provides various training and
professional development opportunities; and intervenes on international issues
such as coproduction, copyright and cultural diversity.

For further information:

For further information: Susan Smith, Bluesky Strategy Group, (613)

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