BBC Films allows recoupment

Change welcomed by Pact

LONDON -- BBC Films said Monday that producers will be able to access 30% of the actual equity recoupment the BBC receives on a film.

The change, which boosts the producer's stakeholding in a project higher up the profit chain, has been welcomed by Pact, the U.K. trade association for indie film, TV and other media content banners.

Andrea Calderwood, Pact's vice chair of feature film and head of independent film and television company Slate Films, said the changes effectively give the producer a bigger position in the financing of a movie.

It's clever PR on the BBC's part as producers and financiers begin readying themselves for the upcoming Festival de Cannes and accompanying market.

Producers say the move is likely to mean the BBC will be a top destination to take high-end projects looking for funding.

It is one of a number of changes agreed upon by the BBC and Pact.

From now on, the BBC's broadcast license in the U.K. will be for a maximum of 15 years. If after five years the Brit pubcaster has no further plans to air a film, then either the BBC or the movie's producer may look to exploit those rights elsewhere in the U.K., with a 70-30 split in profits if the BBC is unrecouped, or a 50-50 share if the BBC's equity has been repaid.

The BBC has also agreed to a number of other changes designed to facilitate a project's development process.

The Beeb is dropping several of its standard requirements around development. Changes include dropping the charge of a 50% premium on development costs incurred to date if the project is turned down by the BBC and picked up by another financier. Claire Evans, BBC head of operations and business affairs for fiction, said she believes the changes "will deliver tangible benefits to U.K. producers by helping to significantly recalibrate the producer's place in the value chain of U.K. film production and by unlocking the residual value of the films we have helped to create."

Said Calderwood: "Providing a genuine share of revenues to producers of successful films creates a real partnership between the BBC and producers to support a sustainable British film industry, and allows us to work together to build up the quality and range of British films."