Participation Fees and Exemptions

In November the Society’s Board of Governors decided to implement supplemental charges for SMPTE engineering standards committees.  Although standards activities are a very important part of the Society’s work, only a relatively small proportion (less than 15%) of members participate.  These charges will enable continuing improvement of the infrastructure and support for standards activities without impacting the resources available for core services applicable to all members.

Not all members will pay the new charges; all companies who support SMPTE through Sustaining Membership will be permitted a number of complimentary participants.  In addition, educators and those whose income is not related to their standards activities will be exempt.  (Basically, if you participate on behalf of your employer or as part of a consultancy business, you are liable for the supplement.  If you participate as a self-supported volunteer, you do NOT have to pay the supplement.)  Full details below.

The need for more revenue

SMPTE is now spending a considerable sum on new web services for engineering committees, and we need to spend more to provide better visibility and tracking of our documents and the work we have in hand.  We also want to improve services and provide, for example, telephone or VoIP access to meetings from most countries, not just the USA and Canada. 

SMPTE is growing its membership slowly, but has not increased its membership dues for eight years, and the growth in membership is not adequate to cover the increased costs of the standards program.  Less than 15% of members take advantage of the standards program, and we need to avoid penalizing members who do not participate.

Many alternative models for collecting additional revenue were considered.  The Standards Supplement described below was determined to be the best method of gaining monetary support from the individuals and corporations who derive the most benefit from participating in the standards activities of SMPTE.  However, we recognize the need to apply additional charges fairly, and the exemptions listed below are designed to limit penalizing those who are already supporting SMPTE financially through sustaining memberships, or those individuals who may not be receiving compensation for their standards work.

The Standards Supplement

Effective March 1, 2009, a Standards Supplement, currently $250/year, will be charged to members who wish to monitor or participate in standards activities—all those who are members of the “Standards Community”.  This is implemented by the purchase of a Standards Participation Subscription available from the Member's "My Account" page https://www.smpte.org/user .  This subscription will be prorated so as to renew at the same time as your Society Membership. 

Non Members who wish to participate may also purchase a Standards Participation Subscription at a higher rate, currently $425/year.  Please contact membership@smpte.org for details.

Exemptions

Not all members will be charged the Standards Supplement.  The following exemptions will apply:

  • Diamond Sustaining Member companies:  these companies are our biggest supporters, and all employees of these companies who are SMPTE Members will be exempt from the supplement (access provided on request).
  • Other Sustaining Members:  we appreciate the support of Sustaining Members at all levels, and all Designated Complimentary Members of Sustaining Member companies will be exempt (number varies with membership level).
  • Companies who host meetings: one of the principal reasons for the low cost of SMPTE standards activities is the generosity of our meeting hosts.  We will not charge the standards participation supplement to any employee of a company that hosted at least four days of SMPTE engineering meetings during the previous year.
  • Life Members, Life Fellows, and Honorary Members: this exemption recognizes the long and/or exceptional service of these members to the Society, and the value of this experience to the standards process.  Access will be provided on request.
  • Those not generating income related to standards activities:  educators, retirees, anyone able to certify that they do not receive related to their participation in standards committees will be exempt.  In other words, if you participate as a self-supported volunteer, you do NOT have to pay the supplement.  Please note that if you are employed in the industry, and your standards activity is related to your employer's business, you are expected to pay the fee (although we hope your employer will reimburse).  If you believe you should be exempt for this reason, please contact the Director of Engineering & Standards.
  • Any member not exempted above who can show that payment of the standards participation supplement would create hardship may apply to the Director of Engineering for exemption, which may be granted subject to the approval of the Executive Director.  Again, please contact the Director of Engineering & Standards.