New Pact Opens Greater Possibilities for Reruns in Australia


SYDNEY: A new agreement between Screen Producers Australia (SPA) and the union representing Australian performers (Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance or MEAA) provides broadcasters greater flexibility to schedule and promote Australian programs than ever before.

The new Actors Television Repeats and Residuals Agreement (ATRRA) allows producers to buy the rights to use an actor’s performance. The agreement covers TV plays and repeats, streaming rights, percentage of sales in Australia and overseas, and allows a performer’s pay to be calculated.

The previous ATRRA agreements had placed restrictions on the number of times an Australian program could be played or streamed. This meant that international programs—purchased without the same restrictions—could be scheduled and streamed more times than local programs.

Up until now, almost no Australian TV dramas have been re-licensed to television after the initial license period has expired, since the length of the license period erodes the value in the program and because the repeat fees payable to performers under the old ATRRA were much greater than the market could afford to pay.

Screen Producers Australia’s CEO, Matthew Deaner, said, “This is a groundbreaking agreement that will unlock the potential that digital technology offers for the benefit of the Australian production industry, Australian broadcasters, and to the Australian viewer.

“The impetus for change is that technology has transformed the available content distribution platforms and audience behavior while the original agreement itself has remained substantially unchanged since 1982.

“We approached negotiations with the view that there should be something in it for each of the major stakeholders. Performers clearly needed increased fees for increased rights. Networks and investors needed greater flexibility to stream and play programs across multiple platforms to drive up audiences for Australian programs and increase recoupment from their considerable investment. Producers needed the opportunity to derive greater value from their intellectual property by opening up the possibility that programs could be re-licensed.”

Deaner continued: “I wish to thank the MEAA, and the National Performer’s Committee in particular, for their willingness to accept significant change. I also thank our members on the SPA negotiating committee for their dedication over a long period.

“We have come a long way since 1982. What we have in this agreement is a blueprint for the future that will help provide a better market structure for the Australian content industry to continue to thrive and employ more creative Australians and for our programs to increase in popularity.”