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Pact: Channel 5 attitude toward indies ‘worrying’

JohnMcVay_NewUK producer body Pact has labelled the terrestrial broadcaster Channel 5’s relationship with local indies “worrying” following results from a new survey.

Pact’s membership survey rated Channel 5 as ‘disappointing’ at best in key areas of concern – ‘appreciation of cash flow issues’, ‘dealings regarding terms of trade’ and ‘getting paid on time’.

This compared with poorly with the results for BBC One, ITV1 and Channel 4, with the latter ranked top with generally ‘acceptable’ or better standards – despite concerns earlier this year over its commissioning and production processes.

“Perhaps the most worrying finding in this year’s survey is the views on working relationships between some production companies and Channel 5,” said Pact CEO John McVay. “The broadcaster scores particularly badly in comparison with the other public service broadcasters in the three areas of business which are of most concern to producers.”

A Channel 5 spokesman said: “Our relationship with the independent sector is strong as is shown by the continuous flow of creative programme ideas we work with them on. As ever, we are always open to discuss with indies any specific issues as and when they arise.”

Across the board, a UK indies average relationship with broadcasters was ‘average’ or better. However, BBC Scotland, BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC, Discovery Channel, E4, ITV1, ITV2, MG ALBA, National Geographic, S4C, BSkyB and UKTV all came in for criticism, with at least one aspect of the key criteria ranked as ‘disappointing’.

Channel 4, BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Wales were the only broadcasters to score highly on all counts.

The top three points of satisfaction were ‘engagement/dialogue during production process’, ‘constructive working relationships’ and ‘feeling respected and valued by commissioners’.

The survey asked Pact’s 500 members to rate the overall working relationship with broadcasters, and eight more detailed questions in relation to 21 UK channels, though they could choose to skip certain questions that were not applicable. Thirty-eight per cent responded over a ten-week period early this year.

“Our Pact survey is an important point of reference for the independent sector and will hopefully serve as useful feedback for broadcasters too. Pact is in touch with broadcasters throughout the year, sometimes regarding individual issues, but this survey helps identify any common problems that members encounter,” said McVay.