BBC to discontinue ‘EastEnders’ omnibus

The BBC has formally announced its intention to discontinue the EastEnders omnibus from April 2015.

A copy of the announcement follows. If you would like further information then please contact Emma Reeves, Acting Chair of the Guild’s TV Committee. If you are an EastEnders writer and not a member of WGGB, you can join on our website.

To All Writers & Writers’ Agents

29 September 2014

Dear all,

The BBC is today announcing that the EastEnders omnibus will cease from April 2015. This decision has been taken after much consideration and detailed analysis of the audience research.

As the television landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years and the way in which viewers watch programmes has evolved – with the advent of PVRs and the wide availability of BBC iPlayer on computers, tablets, connected TV etc. – the majority of viewers now catch-up with EastEnders in alternative ways (indeed EastEnders is consistently the most-viewed series on BBC iPlayer) and the audience for the EastEnders omnibus has steadily decreased.

With the anticipated introduction of 30 day catch-up on BBC iPlayer in the near future, as well as BBC One + 1, there will be even more opportunities for viewers to watch episodes they’ve missed.

EastEnders remains at the heart of the BBC One schedule and continues to be one of the most popular programmes on British television. The BBC is absolutely committed to the future of EastEnders as illustrated by the huge investment its making in the Elstree site and the re-building of the EastEnders Lot, which is due to start next year.

In recognition of the fact that the loss of the omnibus would have had a significant impact on what the actors and writers are paid, we have come up with an alternative approach to the structuring of talent pay to ensure that talent continues to be rewarded fairly.

Going forward current script rates will be maintained and  writers will move from a script fee plus narrative repeat fee (totalling 175%) to a script fee for one transmission plus advance against future public service use (valued at 175%). The advance against future public service use will cover any future repeats of the programme on terrestrial or digital channels should they be commissioned. Script fees won’t cover BBC iPlayer – this will continue to be paid via Writers Digital Payment as it is now.

Our aim is to ensure that no writer unfairly loses out due to the loss of the omnibus.

If you have any queries please let me know or contact Michelle Matharu in the Literary Copyright team.

With very best wishes,

Dominic Treadwell-Collins

Executive Producer, EastEnders