Director pay rates - the challenge
Freelance directors should be paid fairly, appropriately and proportionately, both by way of salary and rights payments.
Proper investment in the creative people who make great programmes is essential for our TV and film industries to thrive. For many directors, pay rates have effectively been frozen despite producers and broadcasters making healthy profits, the expansion of subscription services and the growth of new content platforms attracting increasing numbers of subscribers.
Directors, as the creative leads, are responsible for navigating productions through increasingly pressured schedules and tightening budgets, while embracing new working practices and technologies and acquiring new skills. But while the expectations placed on the director have significantly increased, the pay for this complex, specialist work has not. Responsibility and seniority on set is no longer recognised through production pay structures and working conditions, with directors no longer guaranteed to be the highest paid person on the crew.
Although we are not a trade union, Directors UK does negotiate pay deals with production companies on behalf of our members. On this page you can find details of our work and the terms and pay rates we have negotiated.
If you would like Directors UK to help with pay levels in your area of work, please let us know at email@example.com
BBC pay deal
In June 2017 Directors UK and the BBC reached an agreement on a new pay deal for directors working on their five continuing drama series: Casualty, Holby City, EastEnders, Father Brown and Doctors. The deal has been renewed in April 2019 with a 2% increase in rates.
The BBC has agreed that pay progression within the maximum and minimum pay ranges will be determined through a more formal creative conversation between the director and the executive producer or series producer. The outcome of these conversations will be relayed to the talent team who will consider it and will use it as the basis of negotiation for the next booking.
ITV pay deal
In October 2015, Directors UK agreed a new pay deal with ITV Studios to cover freelance directors working on Coronation Street and Emmerdale. This deal has been renewed in April 2019 with a 2% increase in rates.
Hollyoaks Pay Deal
In August 2018 Directors UK and Lime Pictures agreed terms for directors working on Hollyoaks.
Entertainment and Multi-camera Rate Card
In early 2015, Directors UK published its official rate card for directors working on entertainment and multi-camera shows. The minimum daily rate is £600 for all directors and this rate became effective from 1 October 2014.
See below for further details:
- The recommended minimum daily rate for entertainment and multi-camera directors shall be £600 per day with effect from 1 October 2014.
- This rate is exclusive of holiday, which must be added to this rate if a director is unable to take any leave.
- The minimum rate for directors operating via a loan-out company is £665 per day, to compensate for the lack of holiday pay.
- A booking may be made for less than one full day e.g. half a day, but the minimum rate is still £600.
- This rate applies to productions in the following genres:
- Broken comedy and sketch shows
- Celebrity panel and quiz shows
- Chat shows
- Comedy stand up performances
- Music performances
- Game shows
- Major “shiny floor” entertainment
- Multi-camera studio factual programmes, e.g. cookery shows
The Directors UK Pay action was initiated by member feedback and experience supported by an internal pay survey carried out by Directors UK in 2015. Our evidence confirmed that directors across all genres have been consistently falling outside of the general pay increases being awarded to other professions working in television production - often including those working on the very same programmes.
With Directors UK’s working membership at around 2,200 directors, the 312 submissions we received on our pay survey provided us with a strong sample of just under 15% of our members. 37% of responses came from drama directors, 51% factual directors, and 12% from multi-camera and entertainment directors. A survey like this was not something Directors UK had undertaken before and it provided valuable insight into how genre, type of programme, location and broadcaster/indie can affect the range of pay rates on offer.
From the survey we developed a clear overview of pay levels across the genres, with many submissions covering what should be the better-paid, most high-profile work:
- 96% of respondents were principal, tier 1 directors
- 83% of respondents were working on peak-time productions
- Responses included a good spread of work across the broadcasters; just over half of submissions (54%) were for BBC commissions, with ITV and Channel 4 both at 12% and Channel 5 and Sky at 3%
- The gender breakdown of responses was not dissimilar to our overall membership (30% women to 70% men)
For a detailed analysis of the first round of results members can read our report: It Pays to Know - The Real Picture on Directors’ Pay, or have a look at a short two-page summary.
From this improved level of understanding, Directors UK could work with its members to identify specific areas around which to focus our campaigning and negotiating activity. This in turn has led to us developing a highly effective model for improving directors pay – most recently seen in the success achieved across both ITV’s and BBC’s continuing dramas.
For more information about these successes please see the Pay deals section above.
However, our Pay campaign can only be as strong as the information we receive from members, which is why we need as many members as possible to contribute and continue to complete the pay survey with each new job.
But more evidence is needed...
The pay survey remains open and if you haven’t already done so please submit details of projects you’ve worked on so we can gain a better understanding of your particular genre and what’s happening to your level of pay.