In our effort to help the industry better mesure the impacts of the Terms of trade negotiations and agreement, the CMF asked CMPA’s John Barrack and Reynolds Mastin to put some things into perspective and provide us with some context.
CMF: Why is the TOT important?
CMPA: As mentioned by Norm Bolem, CMPA’s President and CEO: “It forever redefines the relationship between producers and broadcasters.” We could also argue that having such a standard framework for negotiating independently commissioned shows will create collateral impacts such as creating an overall standard for “fair market value”, forcing the non-signatory broadcasters to align with the Terms of Trade to remain competitive when negotiating with producers. No one would accept standards that are less-favourable than those now set by the TOT. This would considerably rebalance the negotiation power of independent producers.
CMF: What motivated the parties to sit around the table and begin negotiations?
CMPA: Back in 2007, the CRTC prompted industry’s stakeholders to get together and negotiate the Terms of trade; but one cannot underestimate that the whole issue of the rights for exploiting the commissioned programs on the new digital platforms as well as the arrival of new players such as Netflix in the Canadian broadcasting environment have driven the conversation and set the dynamic for these negotiations.
CMF: What other examples of such an agreement can we find around the world?
CMPA: Some countries, such as UK, New Zealand and Australia do have Terms of Trade agreements to govern the relationship between independent producers and public broadcasters. The difference is that – in all cases – we are talking about public broadcasters whereas here, in Canada, the deal was reached – and in a very timely manner – with private broadcasters. In that sense, this is an unprecedented deal. We sincerely thank the private broadcasters for coming around the negotiation table; they did it quickly and with a genuine willingness to reach an agreement. Hopefully, Canadian Public broadcasters will also follow the path.
CMF: Do you believe that someday we could reach a Terms of trade agreement to deal with original Digital Media Rights for projects that will not be related to TV (since the TOT only applies to DM rights when they are related to a TV program)?
CMPA: It seems premature to prescribe the business relationship in such an uncertain environment. We don’t even know for sure if the “broadcasters” of the Digital media landscape are the same (in whole or in part) than those who were sitting around the table last time. Even for the current iteration of the Terms of trade Agreement, it was a huge challenge to remain flexible for both parties and not to preclude or limit the evolution of rights.