Netflix & UK Writers Guild & PMA Strike Scripted Agreement

Netflix has struck a deal with the Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) over live-action scripted series for the first time.

The first-of-its-kind deal also sees the global streamer tie with the Personal Managers Association, which represents UK agents.

The deal came into place on February 1 and comes as the streamers look to deepen relationships with local unions.

A PMA spokesperson called the agreement “trailblazing” and said it “moves away from granting rights in perpetuity and introduces a structure for ongoing payments.”

Published on the WGGB website, the terms will see writers paid a minimum script fee of £17,000 ($21,700) for a one-off 60-minute show and £15,000 for series. The initial script fee includes six months exploitation on the Netflix service (worldwide) and non-theatric and promotional rights. The agreement also sees writers given 5.6% of gross receipts if their production is exploited off Netflix, along with a mandatory Subsequent Use Advance of 125% of the agreed script fee to be paid to the credited writer of the episode on the first day of principal photography. Together with the script fee, the 125% SUA pre-purchases 10 years for Netflix and can be extended beyond the decade.

Ellie Peers, General Secretary of the WGGB, said: “For the first time in the UK, writers working for a global streamer will have their rights enshrined in a collective trade union agreement and will enjoy improved terms and conditions. We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Netflix.”

Netflix VP UK Anne Mensah added: “Local writers are core to Netflix’s success in the UK and we are delighted to have reached a deal.”

The WGGB has had a good few weeks. Since the WGA struck its deal with the AMPTP in the U.S., the WGGB has also secured a 10% pay rise for writers on BBC shows and improved residuals following updates to the pair’s pre-existing agreement. The renegotiated agreement includes a 10% rise in minimum fees, seeing the minimum rate for a 60-minute show increase from £12,780 ($16,132) to £14,040. Series minimum rates will rise to £12,900 per 60 minutes, dramatizations to £9,360 per 60 minutes and adaptations to £5,760 per 60 minutes. BBC sketch writers will see a rise of 4% on minimum fees, taking the ‘per minute’ minimum rate to £123.

The news comes with the WGGB’s actor counterpart Equity set to sit down soon with the UK producer trade body Pact and negotiate new deals. For the past decade, the likes of Netflix, Disney and Apple have approached Equity negotiations in the form of ‘side letters,’ which effectively takes the deal with Pact and adds a small premium for their original commissions. It remains to be seen whether the streamers will again take this approach or will come to the table more formally.

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