SPA and MEAA strike new deal for animation voice artists

05 April, 2018 by Don Groves

‘Bottersnikes and Gumbles.’

Actors who lend their voices to TV and online animation programs will now be paid per-episode and character rather than a day rate.


They will also receive loadings for playing additional characters and there is a maximum six-hour day (previously eight hours) with hourly voice breaks.

The upside for producers is that they can now buy all rights in perpetuity, which will result in higher overseas sales because they no longer have to pay residuals.

In addition, producers who had been forced to hire voice-over artists outside Australia will now employ more cast locally.

These are among the major outcomes of a new agreement between Screen Producers Australia and the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

The 2018 TV Animation Voice Over MOU updates arrangements for animation that had been governed by the Actors Repeats and Residuals Agreement (ATRRA) since 2000.

That section of the agreement took years to renegotiate because, historically, the MEAA was opposed to the buy-out of all rights.

The new deal enables producers to acquire rights for the multiple screenings that are required by broadcasters and it provides more flexible online and VOD rights. In return, the performers will receive significant additional compensation, perhaps as much as 30 per cent.

However all this will be in jeopardy if the commercial free-to-air networks’ campaign to persuade the federal government to scrap the quotas for children’s TV programming succeeds.

SPA CEO Matt Deaner said: “I want to congratulate both the MEAA and the SPA negotiators for their perseverance, good faith and vision to achieve this agreement.

“At SPA we have been very conscious that if we are to preserve future opportunities for production and employment in the digital age, we need to reform the industrial and commercial frameworks so that they adapt to the demands of new technology, changes in audience behaviour, and international competitors.”

MEAA CEO Paul Murphy said: “This is an outstanding new agreement that rewards Australian voice actors for skill, not just time spent in the studio. Thank you to all involved in the intensive negotiations that have occurred over the last 12 months. The outcome we have achieved is a major win for Australia’s TV animation industry.”

SPA is now negotiating a crew deal with the MEAA, a TV series agreement with the Australian Directors’ Guild and a renewal of the residuals covered in the 2016 ATTRA agreement.