ACTRA 2017-2020 Agreement

To renew the ACTRA National Television and Radio Commercial Agreement for 2017-2020.

Goal

To renew the ACTRA National Television and Radio Commercial Agreement for 2017-2020. The ACA sought to achieve provisions that eliminate performance step-up fees for commercials moving over from television to digital media, to address low budget digital productions and address the need for extensive versions of an online production.

The Issue

ACA acts on behalf of Canadian marketers in negotiating the ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) and UDA (Union des Artistes) commercial agreements. ACA wanted to ensure favourable conditions were established so marketers could produce and distribute their advertising spots more cost-effectively.

Actions

The ACA, along with the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA), began negotiations with ACTRA in the summer of 2017.

Outcome

A new Agreement was signed, effective September 23, 2017, and will expire on June 30, 2020
The new agreement addressed the majority of challenges facing Canadian marketers, building on the inroads achieved during previous negotiations. Updates included:

  • A digital low-budget pilot project, designed to help marketers and their agencies compete with non-union rates while accessing professional talent. Known as the ACTRAonline Opportunity Pilot Project (AOPP), it secures a reduced rate for performance and unlimited online versions for the advertiser for ads with budgets of $75,000 or less.
  • The elimination of move-over fees: going forward, talent will be paid once for the session and then for use in the chosen media. This ends a costly practice of paying extra to air a TV commercial in digital and additionally simplifies the agreement.
  • Unlimited versions for digital commercials. In today’s increasingly fragmented environment this gain allows advertisers to produce versions in the formats most conducive to the media. In exchange, marketers accepted an anticipated rate increase for 1 year of digital use. To help marketers who don’t need unlimited versions, there is a 45-day rate and six-month digital rate, as well as the previously mentioned pilot project.
  • More versions for TV – up to 5 from 3. This will benefit marketers who are taking advantage of producing multiple commercial lengths.
  • A new, lower rate for group background performers allowing for the capability to shoot large cast productions.
  • Stock footage, stock stills, or library footage are removed from the agreement. This simplifies the agreement and can help reduce the cost of productions.
  • In line with recent private sector wage settlement agreements, annual increases were kept to 2% over the course of the deal. The digital media increase use rates and AOPP are frozen for the remainder of the agreement.

A copy of the agreement will be posted here once available.

For more information, contact Judy Davey, Vice President, Media Policy and Marketing Capabilities at (416) 964-2791 / 1-800-565-0109 / jdavey@ACAweb.ca or Winnie Alford, ICA/ACA Talent Advisor at (416) 573-8793 /Winnie@secondunit.net.

Formation of a First Internet and New Media Agreement Between ACA and Union des Artistes

To establish an agreement governing Internet and New Media (INM) that addressed the practical and economic realities of INM.

Goal

To establish an agreement governing Internet and New Media (INM) that addressed the practical and economic realities of INM.

The Issue

The ACA acts on behalf of Canadian marketers in negotiating the UDA (Union des Artistes) and ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) commercial agreements. In October, 2009, ACA, together with Association des agences de communication créative called UDA to the bargaining table to establish a first agreement governing Internet and New Media.

Outcome

Following years of negotiations and arbitrations, the final arbitration ruling was issued in late 2015 and came into effect April 1, 2016, for a period of two years.

Key highlights of this decision include:

  • A new performers’ remuneration model that distinguished between production rates and usage fees for commercials;
  • Hourly rates specific to a performer’s function;
  • Usage fees reflective of audience size, location (territory) and language in which the commercial is played;
  • An ability to “move over” INM commercials to television by simply paying performers their respective television rate;
  • Unrestricted use of “stock footage” material in INM productions.

Importantly, this decision complemented the 2013 decision that confirmed the scope of the agreement was not limited to the exclusive hiring of UDA members (referred to as a “closed shop”). Specifically, it allows for the use of non-union performers and real people.

View or download a copy of the agreement.

For more information on this issue, contact Ron Lund, President & CEO, at 416-964-3805 ext. 1001 / 1-800-565-0109.

Telecaster

To get Telecaster to change its unpredictable ad-clearance process for “final closed captioned” ads.

Goal

To get Telecaster to change its unpredictable ad-clearance process for “final closed captioned” ads.

The Issue

In September, 2014 Telecaster (part of ThinkTV), the self-governing clearance committee for TV commercials, began requiring marketers provide a “final closed captioned” version of all English and French language TV spots before it would grant an ad final approval.

Most, if not all ACA members were already producing closed captioned spots, and those were being checked by the broadcasters at the TV station level. The new layer of approval was creating a logjam for many commercials, including time-sensitive spots related to promotions.

Actions

ACA organized a gathering of more than 40 people – including TVB’s board of directors and agency traffic managers – to address Telecaster’s new process and to push for a change.

Outcome

The ad-clearance committee’s new policy was reversed just nine months after it went into effect, with Telecaster declaring it would require only the non-closed caption spots as part of the clearance process, returning the approval of closed captioning to the station level.

For more information on this issue, contact Judy Davey, Vice President, Media Policy and Marketing Capabilities at (416) 964-2791 / 1-800-565-0109 / jdavey@ACAweb.ca.

Automobile Advertising

To ensure a self-regulatory advertising standards system for automobile marketers was protected.

Goal

To ensure a self-regulatory advertising standards system for automobile marketers was protected.

The Issue

In 2007 a Quebec-government formed road safety task force recommended a review of automobile advertising. The government consequently gave direction to Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) to “establish guidelines aimed at prohibiting any advertisement that portrays a road vehicle and conveys a careless attitude with respect to road safety…”

A national self-regulatory system was already established and overseen by Advertising Standards Canada (ASC).

Quebec’s legislative approach would force marketers to operate under two systems in Canada. In addition, the move might trigger other provinces or territories to follow suit, thereby creating a patchwork of regulations across the country. Clearly, a single self-regulatory program was desirable.

Actions

ACA contacted the Quebec government, proposing a national approach drawing direction from ASC’s Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. Following our intervention, a national working group on automobile advertising – comprised of government, automakers and ad representatives was formed.

Outcome

After numerous industry meetings, including a presentation to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, which endorsed our endeavour, guidelines and a Memorandum of Understanding were developed. Automotive manufacturers committed to a national voluntary set of ad standards built on the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards model.

The strategy received formal support from the Council of Deputy Ministers and the Memorandum of Understanding was signed in May 2009. The ASC agreed to administer these commitments.

For more information on this issue, contact Ron Lund, President & CEO, at 416-964-3805 ext. 1001 / 1-800-565-0109.

Quebec Charter On Body Image

To offer the Quebec task force on body image a self-regulatory model as a viable solution to government regulation.

Goal

To offer the Quebec task force on body image a self-regulatory model as a viable solution to government regulation.

The Issue

In Quebec, young people concerned about the negative impact of images of extreme thinness on girls and women signed petitions in 2007 and 2008 asking the provincial government to take action. Of importance, regulation on this issue had already been effected in France.

In 2009, Quebec established a task force to determine ways to promote a healthy and diversified body image, engage public and private stakeholders in actions that would combat weight-related conditions (such as anorexia and bulimia) and encourage a more realistic representation of diverse body types.

Actions

ACA participated on the task force, along with marketers, healthcare practitioners, government representatives, and fashion and production industry partners. As an option to regulation, ACA supported the creation of a voluntary “Charter,” which was accepted as the way forward.

Outcome

ACA helped to create a Charter that was acceptable and actionable for Canadian marketers and industry stakeholders, as well as fulfilling the government’s mandate. The resulting Québec Charter for a Healthy and Diverse Body Image, to which the ACA is a signatory, outlined seven pledges to promote healthy and diverse body types.

Importantly, ACA was instrumental in stopping a proposal that would have imposed written disclaimers on ads to indicate when retouching had been used in the production of an ad and imposed impractical quotas for depicting various body types in commercials.

For more information on this issue, contact Ron Lund, President & CEO, at 416-964-3805 ext. 1001 / 1-800-565-0109.

Google/Yahoo! Search advertising marketing agreement

ACA lobbied against a proposed advertising sales arrangement between Google and Yahoo!

Goal

ACA lobbied against a proposed advertising sales arrangement between Google and Yahoo! because it would have created a virtual monopoly, thereby increasing marketer search costs.

The Issue

In 2008, Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. announced a proposed agreement that would have allowed Yahoo! to show a Google ad any time the Google ad would sell for more than a Yahoo! ad – in the same slot on the Yahoo! results page. The new arrangement would have been in effect for 10 years in Canada and the U.S.

Under the proposed deal, the reserve prices set by Google on its platform would be charged to marketers on Yahoo!, establishing the much higher Google prices as the floor price. It was estimated at the time that Google cost-per-click prices were already about 35% higher than Yahoo! prices. The proposed arrangement would have also pushed the combined market share of Google and Yahoo! to over 90%, leaving even less alternatives for the marketer to choose from.

Actions

The ACA urged the federal Competition Bureau to disallow this Google-Yahoo! agreement, noting the deal would:

  • Create an unacceptable level of market dominance by Google;;
  • Restrict competition and lead to price increases for marketers; and
  • Perpetuate a lack of transparency in Google’s process for setting prices.

Outcome

Following opposition by ACA, the Competition Bureau concluded the proposed agreement had “provisions that were potentially harmful to Canada.”

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice had threatened Google and Yahoo! with a lawsuit to block the deal if they pursued it.

As a result, Google Inc. abandoned its proposed advertising agreement with Yahoo! Inc.

For more information on this issue, contact Judy Davey, Vice President, Media Policy and Marketing Capabilities at (416) 964-2791 / 1-800-565-0109 / jdavey@ACAweb.ca.

Bell GlobeMedia Purchase Of The Chum City-TV Stations

To oppose the acquisition of CHUM Ltd. by Bell GlobeMedia; at minimum necessitating the divestiture of five CHUM City-TV stations in order to preserve healthy competition.

Goal

To oppose the acquisition of CHUM Ltd. by Bell GlobeMedia; at minimum necessitating the divestiture of five CHUM City-TV stations in order to preserve healthy competition.

The Issue

In 2006, Bell GlobeMedia undertook to purchase CHUM Ltd., which owned 33 radio stations, 21 specialty stations and 12 television stations.

The purchase offer, which required approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Competition Bureau, was a concern for marketers because it would lessen competition and lead to increased costs for TV time. The inclusion of the City-TV properties would mean Bell GlobeMedia would control two major local TV stations in the important Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver markets.

Actions

ACA vigorously opposed the sale with the Competition Bureau, yet the Bureau approved the sale. At the CRTC, however, it was a different story.

In April 2007, ACA submitted a written intervention to CRTC outlining the implications for marketers and requesting to appear during the oral phase of the hearings. At those hearings, ACA emphasized the importance of curtailing market dominance by one media company and ensuring healthy competition.

Outcome

ACA’s intervention directly led to CRTC approving the ownership change, with a big caveat: Bell Globemedia had to divest itself of the City-TV stations. With that win, marketers’ concern about limiting competition in key local TV markets was allayed and marketers were saved an estimated 3-to-5% increase on their TV budgets.

The CRTC decision was also an important precedent for future cases where merger proposals threaten to eliminate competition.

For more information on this issue, contact Judy Davey, Vice President, Media Policy and Marketing Capabilities at (416) 964-2791 / 1-800-565-0109 / jdavey@ACAweb.ca.