The Edinburgh TV Festival is further expanding its remit as the foremost charity dedicated to supporting the television industry with the launch of a new division – The TV Foundation – ushered in by a living wage campaign.

Spearheaded by festival director and CEO Lisa Campbell, The TV Foundation has tied with the Living Wage Foundation to substantially increase the number of employers in the industry which pay staff the real living wage.

An anonymous pay survey conducted via the festival’s Talent Schemes arm earlier this year revealed a lack of standardised rates for new entrants, coupled with vague job descriptions, expectations and working hours. More than one-third of the 300 respondents, largely freelancers, said they have been expected to work more than 50 hours per week.

The issues raised by the survey echo fears previously noted by Festival staff responsible for working closely with emerging talent.

The TV Foundation has uncovered just seven Real Living Wage-accredited employers in TV – ITV, Channel 4, CPL Productions, Maverick, North One Television, Objective Media Group and Whisper Films – and is urging other companies which meet the requirements to apply for accreditation. The campaign will also put pressure on those companies whose working conditions fall short of expectations.

TV Foundation director of education and talent development, Campbell Glennie said the move was part of a drive to help the industry improve its social mobility.

“If we can demonstrate to tomorrow’s diverse workforce that the television industry is fair, transparent and pays appropriately, it will send a powerful message to the next generation”

Campbell Glennie, Director of Education and Talent Development

As part of the launch, The TV Foundation has also unlocked a £150k dedicated development funding pot, which it expects to be matched by funding grants and industry support.

Graham Stuart, Executive Chair of the TV Festival and MD, So Television said: “The Edinburgh Television Festival is a charity and these additional funds will help further deliver our stated aim – to make the industry more open and inclusive. They will help us continue our commitment to opening routes into television for all young people and also target those mid-level colleagues, the ‘lost middle’ who need practical help to reach the next level in their careers.”

This includes the launch of nationwide talent labs, alongside TV Foundation Bursaries for industry schemes, including writing initiatives backed by Thousand Films, Kudos and Hartswood West.

Ones To Watch Networking

“We’re committed to tackling the big issues as well as reaching those who don’t believe a TV career is possible for them.”

Lisa Campbell, CEO & Festival Director

The TV Foundation will also take control of long-running talent schemes The Network and Ones To Watch, supported by YouTube, as well as more recent year-round initiatives including the Social Mobility Summit and New Voice Awards.

Chief exec and festival director Lisa Campbell said her ambition is to invest in more year-round activity. “We’re committed to tackling the big issues as well as reaching those who don’t believe a TV career is possible for them.”

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