PA hits out at 'disproportionate and nonsensical' camera pooling fees

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The Press Association has called for the overhaul of the regulations covering nationally significant events after it refused to pay ‘disproportionate and nonsensical” fees to show video footage of the Chilcot inquiry to its newspaper clients.

“In a letter seen by MediaGuardian.co.uk, to John Whittingdale, the Tory MP who chairs the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, PA said that the pool broadcasters demanded that it pay £17,866 to access footage of the Chilcot inquiry.

This a quarter of the cost of broadcasting the inquiry live – which, PA claimed, was “entirely disproportionate and nonsensical” when it could provide lower-quality video for online use at a fraction of the cost.

“For something as important as the Chilcot inquiry, an event of genuine public interest, there should be provision for us to provide digital video to our hundreds of clients,” said Tony Watson, the PA managing director, told MediaGuardian.co.uk.”

The pool arrangement has been existence for a number of years to provide broadcasters – the BBC, Sky News and ITN – footage to then supply to others. However, PA has been advocating for greater access at a more reasonable rate so that it can provide clients with footage for their websites through its expanding video operations.

“In the letter to Whittingdale, PA said that it had been unfairly frozen out of showing video from key events by being asked to pay what it considers are exorbitant fees.”

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