Production houses threaten to boycott BBH

Bartle Bogle Hegarty is facing a crisis with news that up to 40 production companies are threatening to boycott the agency's TV briefs.

The dispute centres on BBH's contracts with production companies. The main bone of contention is BBH's decision to pay editors directly, rather than via the production company.

Production houses including RSA Films, Blink, Academy, Stink, Gorgeous, Partizan and MJZ gathered at the Advertising Producers Association on Tuesday to discuss a ban on working with BBH.

Production companies have previously had the right to negotiate contracts and fees on behalf of the editor, on a job-by-job basis.

Steve Davies, the chief executive of the APA, said: "Cost is an issue, but this is more about the production company's creative role. It may not be BBH's intention to erode this, but there is the fear that is what will happen. Production companies are in business and seeking to make a profit. There is no reason why they should be shy about saying this."

However, Frances Royle, BBH's head of TV, countered: "We wouldn't do anything to compromise creativity. It is ridiculous and time-consuming to start with a blank contract before each job and we want the same terms and conditions for everyone."

- Comment, page 44.

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