TV freelancers feel they are taken advantage of

44% of TV freelancers feel they are taken advantage of

44% of TV freelancers feel they are taken advantage of

Jon Creamer
22 August 2014

Nearly half of all freelancers who work for TV indies feel they are taken advantage of by their production company bosses.

Research by SPA Future Thinking for an Edinburgh TV Festival session called How to be a better indie polled a group of freelancers to get their opinions on working with independents. Wall to Wall was voted the best place to work by freelancers with Betty voted in second.

Commissioning editors were also asked for their opinions on their indie suppliers with Wall to Wall and Twofour voted the best to work with.

The research showed a less than positive picture for TV freelancers. 77% of freelancers said they had not received any training from their production company, one in five say they had not had the terms of their holiday pay communicated to them.

44% of freelancers say they feel taken advantage of and 42% of freelancers say their dates of employment often change during the job. 36% of freelancers don’t feel valued and their expectations of progression are low. 50% feel that HR issues are not dealt with properly.

Betty’s Liz Warner who spoke on the panel, said she often felt her company was “rehabilitating” freelancers when they came to her indie from other companies. Twofour’s Andrew McKenzie said it was time for a standardisation of training within the indie sector.

The session, and the research, also dealt with commissioning editors’ opinions about their indie suppliers. 91% of commissioners polled said they thought that their department worked well with indies but only 44% said that indies were serving the broadcast industry well.

The research showed that only 36% of shows that were put into development get commissioned and only one in five ideas from indies were viewed as being commissionable.

Commissioners also said that superindies are now dominating leading to an increasing lack of voice and tone. 68% of the commissioning editors polled said issues existed around senior indie managers not being engaged with the programme post sale and 61% said they felt there were issues with poor delivery of programmes.

The session also turned to an increased perception of “rudeness” in dealings between broadcasters and indie suppliers. Betty’s Liz Warner revealed that she had recently complained to the boss of a commissioning editor who had arrived 45 minutes late for a meeting, said they only had five minutes spare before their lunch and then screamed at her to turn off the teaser tape as soon as it was put on. The commissioner was asked to offer an apology by their boss.

From: Televisual Magazine