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BBC's agreement gives independent producers control over rights

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MUMBAI: This is a deal that provides more stake to independent television producers in the UK. The BBC has signed new terms of trade for commissioning television programmes with them. The deal was signed between the BBC and Pact TV Policy Group which represents independent producers.

One of the key points of the agreement is that the independent producers will own all rights (including copyright) in the programmes they produce. The BBC will take a licence to use programming across its portfolio of channels for a period of five years and to exercise public service new media rights.

The independent producers will control all distribution, including international rights, format rights, commercial new media rights, videos and DVD rights and merchandising, subject to certain protections required to protect the BBC's licence.

In India BBC World has a deal with Synergy for University Challenge. Miditech produces Wheels for them. Coming back to the UK the agreement applies to all independent television production deals retrospectively from 6 January 2004, for all the Beeb's public service channels, regional channels in the UK.

BBC Director of Television Jana Bennett said, "The terms of trade herald a new era in our relationship with the independent sector. The agreement represents an historic transfer of value to independents and very much underlines the BBC's commitment to fostering a robust and successful independent sector.

"BBC Television already benefits from many great independent programmes - we want to foster a more creative and open relationship with independent producers. We believe that the new agreement will support this and will, in the end, bring more original and high quality programmes to our audiences."

Pact TV Policy Group chairman David Frank added, "This deal provides the framework for a huge improvement in the relationship between the BBC and the independent sector - one based on trust, mutual respect and fair reward on both sides.

"However to make it work we must all adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of the new agreement. "This is not a victory for the independent sector. It is a victory for UK audiences who will get the benefit of programmes being developed and made by a stronger, more vibrant production community capable of taking bigger creative risks than ever before."

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