Writers for Emmerdale and Coronation Street are among those to have received royalties in the latest round of payments under the Writers Digital Payments (WDP) scheme.
WDP, owned by WGGB and the Personal Managers’ Association, has now distributed money totalling £200,000 to around 200 ITV writers whose work has been shown on ITV Player during the period 2008-11.
It follows two tranches of payments to BBC writers, earlier this year and in April 2015, for reuse of their work on BBC iPlayer.
Negotiations continue with both BBC and ITV for the next round of payments, and WDP is also approaching other broadcasters with a view to expanding the scheme.
Writers Digital Payments is a not-for-profit company and was set up to ensure TV writers get properly paid when their work is shown online. “Our negotiations with the broadcasters not only aim to protect writers in the digital age but also ensure that this rapidly growing trend of viewing online, and across multiple platforms, is reflected in the royalties writers receive,” explained WDP Manager Lynne Mendoza.
The amount going into individual writers’ bank accounts is calculated according to the number of people who have watched their shows online. WGGB and the Personal Managers’ Association negotiate a lump sum in advance with the broadcasters, and then WDP analyses the viewing data to make sure it is fairly distributed to writers – a process managed by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.
“This opens up opportunities for less experienced writers, whose shows prove popular with the viewing public, as the royalty is based on the number of hits, rather than a fixed percentage of the original fee,” continued Lynne Mendoza.
Payments to writers take place retrospectively to reflect the fact that an initial lump sum is negotiated with the broadcasters in advance, and data analysis is required for the projected period to ensure money is fairly distributed.
Writers don’t have to be members of WGGB to qualify for the scheme, and they don’t need to register.