Sooooo, as the Guardian has pointed out, Green Wing is one of a number of British shows now available in the States on hulu.com. My favourite Twitter comment on it thus far: 'It's like The (U.S.) Office, only with 15 Dwights'.
The increasing availablity of television through the internet raises a number of question, the only one of which I really care about right now is, of course, 'how do I get paid?' It's already slightly complicated, as any residuals for the first series of GW come directly to me, rather than through my agent (I started the job slightly before getting the agent), and the second series (not yet available on hulu) comes through my previous agency.
Unlike a terrestrial transmission, when I get paid a certain percentage of my original writing fee depending on how much material I have in each episode, and what time of night the repeat goes out (the later the hour, the smaller the amount of money), it's not clear how residuals work with online showings. Or indeed, if I'll be getting any money at all. It's also important to remember that I don't have any format rights over GW - so if an American version were ever made, I'd only be paid if parts of the script I had written were to be used.
My old agents are onto it, but in the meantime, I thought I'd send an email to Digital Rights Group, who as far as I can tell are the people who sold the rights to hulu. So someone's making some money from it. And it struck me that if more and more television is going to be distributed (I was going to say 'broadcast', but that sounds a bit dated now), I probably ought to find out more about the process, and where exactly writers fit into it. And by 'fit into it', I mean 'find out about getting paid'. So I sent DRG this email:
"Hello, I'm one of the writers on Green Wing, which is now being televised on Hulu for American audiences. I'm interested in finding out how my residuals (royalties) would work, and wondering who the best person to talk to would be. Would anyone be able to help me in this matter?"
And this was the reply:
Thank you for your enquiry.
Any residual royalties owing to you will be paid shortly to you.
Which was sent in May. Note they haven't stated they do owe me any residuals, only that anything owed to me will be paid 'soon'. And that was sent in May.