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Smithsonian Hands Over TV Contract; Lawmakers Get the Details Of a 30-Year Arrangement
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Government contracts; Testimony
Author: Jacqueline Trescott - Washington Post Staff Writer
Date: May 26, 2006
Start Page: C.1
Section: STYLE

The Smithsonian is guaranteed $500,000 a year, and can earn additional money if Smithsonian on Demand, Showtime programming based on Smithsonian holdings, is popular with cable subscribers.

With the deal, the Smithsonian said, researchers and scholars would continue to have access to the archives and other Smithsonian resources. But commercial filmmakers could make only "incidental" use of the materials unless they were working with Showtime or got special approval. Smithsonian officials have said only a very small number of filmmakers would be affected. Small said that of the 900 media contracts signed between 2000 and 2005, only 17 had more than an incidental use of Smithsonian resources.

Small explained that the Showtime project was one way that Smithsonian was trying to bring in extra revenue. It receives 75 percent of its money from Congress. Its other funds come from a private account that includes an $800 million endowment. [Lawrence M. Small] said yesterday the Smithsonian had raised $1 billion from private sources since 2000. But he also reminded the panel that the Smithsonian has a backlog of repairs that would cost billions of dollars.

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