No agreement on rerun compensation on MTV Media channels

4.3.2013

Negotiations regarding compensation for reruns of programming translated by former MTV Media translators have failed. The expiration of the old contract may lead to alterations in planned programming on MTV channels and degrade the quality of translations.

An amendment to the existing collective agreement specific to MTV Media expired in the end of February. According to the amendment, MTV Media channels could show a limited number of reruns of programming that had been translated by MTV Media's own employees without incurring extra charges each time. Now that the amendment has expired, MTV Media is liable for a 50% remuneration of the original translation fee upon every rerun involving an existing translation, as specified in the main agreement. The company is unwilling to incur extra fees for every rerun, so they made an offer involving lower rates in exchange for an unlimited right to reuse existing translations for reruns in February, which the translators subsequently rejected.

Instead, a counter offer was made, according to which the right to unlimited reuse of old translations would have been sold to MTV Media for a very reasonable price in exchange for the company changing its translation outsourcing provider from the notorious BTI International to another audiovisual translation company that has signed the collective agreement of the branch. In addition, translators offered to work through the other company at rates that would have been reduced by approximately 20% from the level set in the previously negotiated agreement.

No agreement could be reached because MTV Media would have liked to reduce the translators' fees by nearly half, in addition to irrevocably receiving the unlimited right to reuse old translations.  This being the case, the company is now liable to pay its former translators a fee amounting to 50% of the original every time an old translation is reused unless they are successful in having the reruns re-translated on different terms, or unless changes to programming are made. The situation may be reflected in the availability of foreign programming on MTV Media channels, which include MTV3, Sub, AVA and several premium channels.

The expiration of the amendment is connected with the divestment of the translation business from MTV Media in October 2012, in which audiovisual translators were outsourced to BTI International. MTV Media's decision to outsource its translation activities to a company that had not signed the collective agreement led to the resignation of over a hundred translators due to concerns over poor labour conditions and inadequate compensation. In addition, freelance translators across several companies have started to refuse inadequately compensated work, and trade unions have declared industrial action against Broadcast Text International and its subsidiary BTI International.