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Terms of Trade in the Television Production Sector

Posted on    by Bartolomeo Meletti
ProjectProject: Creative Industries

Terms of Trade in the Television Production Sector

By 12 March 2021February 27th, 2024No Comments

Terms of Trade in the Television Production Sector


This project examines the ‘terms of trade’ in UK broadcasting policy in the context of the emergence of Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) services. ‘Terms of trade’ is a code of practice established in the Communications Act 2003 that ensures independent television producers retain an interest in IP subsisting in works commissioned by public service broadcasters (PSB). This intervention had catalytic effects in transforming the dynamics of the UK production sector. The primary motive behind the ‘terms of trade’ was to foster a competitive and diverse independent production sector by limiting the buyer power of PSBs.

In the contemporary setting, SVoDs have rapidly become major commissioners of TV content. SVoDs are not subject to the ‘terms of trade’ or many other obligations placed on PSBs, leading to questions about the long-term ramifications of the emergence of these new operators. The project draws on a systematic review of evidence submissions to the 2020 DCMS Future of Public Service Broadcasting Inquiry, in harness with instructive exemplars for codes of practice for digital platforms and approaches employed in other sectors. In doing so the project considers the role that codes of practice might play in the television production landscape in the SVoD era.


AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC)


Martin Kretschmer
Principal Investigator

Kenny Barr