Press Release

DIRECTORS UK RESPONDS TO OFCOM’S REVIEW OF REGIONAL TV PRODUCTION AND PROGRAMMING

17 May 2018


Earlier this year, Ofcom issued a call for evidence to support a review of their regional TV production and programming guidance.

Following consultation with our regional representatives and members, Directors UK submitted our response to the review last week.

The aim of this consultation is to assess whether the existing guidelines, written in 2004, are still fit for purpose in a rapidly changing media landscape. It also provides an opportunity to look at the balance between regional productions from region-based producers and London-based producers, and the employment of region-based on and off-screen staff, talent and crews.

Our full responsereflected a concern that the current guidelines are not doing enough to benefit productions and talent in the nations and regions. In particular, our research notes that the current system for demonstrating that 50% of production staff are from within the region doesn’t require companies to specify the role, grade or creative contribution of the staff in question. This leaves the system open to exploitation, as companies can meet the guideline without employing key creative talent (such as directors) from within the regions.

"There is a real risk that the ongoing lack of opportunity for locally-based directors in the nations and regions will continue the drain of local talent moving to London to take advantage of the greater networking and employment opportunities there. 

The planned move of Channel 4 to open up bases out of London should be of significant benefit to the nations and regions, both for the industry itself in terms of stimulating regional production and to the UK more generally in terms of portrayal and representation. However it is important to point out that to enable this to happen they cannot simply set up commissioners based in the nations or regions and expect them to pull network standard talent out of a hat. 

Investment in meaningful training and pathways of career progress also needs to be made if this is going to prove fruitful. If talent is simply parachuted in for a project only to leave again it leaves no lasting legacy on which to grow the local industry in the region and local talent feels alienated. As a freelancer whether you make your base in a region or relocate there depends on an employment infrastructure to make it viable. 

Sustainability is therefore the key to making any moves into the nations and regions a success and to deliver real transformative impact. It requires commissioners, production companies, key decision makers and roles to be based there in order to encourage creative companies (production companies, suppliers, post-houses etc.) and talent to be there and invest in it. If this happens then talent would both stay and migrate to the nations and regions and in time the ecology would change improving the overall offering to the audience as well as the industry. "

Read our full response here.

    NOTES TO EDITORS:
     

    ABOUT DIRECTORS UK
     
    ·            Directors UK is the professional association of UK screen directors. It is a membership organisation representing the creative, economic and contractual interests of over 6,500 members - the majority of working TV and film directors in the UK. Directors UK collects and distributes royalty payments and provides a range of services to members including campaigning, commercial negotiations, legal advice, events, training and career development. Directors UK works closely with fellow organisations around the world to represent directors’ rights and concerns, promotes excellence in the craft of direction and champions change to the current landscape to create an equal opportunity industry for all. 
     
    ·            Further information and a copy of the new contract terms can be found at www.directors.uk.com     
     
    ·            To become a member of Directors UK for access to training, benefits and discounts, please visit www.directors.uk.com/join or contact us directly at membership@directors.uk.com   
     
    ·            Directors UK Social Media handle: @Directors_UK         
Author

Victoria Morris

Head of Communications and Public Affairs

vmorris@directors.uk.com

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