I am a Boston-based reporter covering breaking news.
Talks between Hollywood studios and striking actors have broken down yet again over a $480 million difference between the streaming payments proposed by the actors’ union and what studios are willing to pay, Variety first reported, the latest impasse as almost all scripted TV and streaming productions remain stalled for nearly 100 days.
SAG-AFTRA leaders have proposed a plan that would see each streaming platform pay 57 cents per subscriber per year—$500 million annually across all platforms—to a jointly administered fund that would then dole out the money to actors whose projects appear on the platforms based on the popularity of each show or movie, Variety reported.
The trustees of the fund would reportedly be in charge of deciding how the residual payments are paid out among the cast of each show, and the trustees would use viewership data—which studios agreed to confidentially give the Writers’ Guild of America union in a deal that ended a separate 148-day writers’ strike last month—to determine popularity.
Studios, however, are offering a bonus-pay structure based on the success of projects, suggesting extra pay totaling about $20 to $30 million a year to those who worked on the most-watched shows, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers—a coalition of Hollywood studios—told Forbes.
The AMPTP told Forbes the union’s ask of a per-subscriber payment came in the form of an ultimatum demanding the studios agree to the per-subscriber free or the strike would continue.
In addition to streaming residuals, the two sides are at odds over limiting the use of artificial intelligence in Hollywood productions, wage increases and extended healthcare coverage.
Representatives for SAG-AFTRA did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment Tuesday.
Representatives returned to the bargaining table this month but talks broke down yet again last week, with the actors’ union saying the studios “walked away from the bargaining table after refusing to counter our latest offer.” The AMPTP said “conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.” Members of SAG-AFTRA walked off the job on July 14 amid a concurrent writers strike that has since ended. The union represents about 160,000 actors, announcers, dancers, DJs, recording artists, stunt performers and other media professionals. Actors and writers were striking over many of the same concerns, including demands for a bigger chunk of streaming residuals—the long-term payments sent to actors and writers when their show or movies rerun or are purchased. Writers and actors have for decades been paid every time their show or movie is re-aired or when someone buys a copy, but when shows started to be picked up by streaming services, actors and writers argued they were no longer being fairly compensated for secondary success.
In a separate deal with the studios to end their strike, the writers’ union agreed to a bonus pay structure that will give writers a 50% bonus on their residuals if the views on a project reach the equivalent of 20% of the subscriber base within 90 days, per Variety, a similar deal to what has been offered to actors. The writers’ deal will also force services to report to the union how many hours a show has been streamed domestically and across the world, a first for a collection of streaming companies that have historically kept the information secret.
Goldman Sachs analysts led by Eric Sheridan wrote in a note to clients last week that the strike stands to permanently impact the industry. The lack of original scripted programming—shows like Abbott Elementary, American Dad, and 1923 will not return on schedule because of the strike—could accelerate the number of customers who cut their cable subscriptions, and streamers could see more subscribers willing to stay longer because of their “more robust content library” when compared to standard network television, they wrote. Analysts also pointed out that the number of production days for filming activity in Los Angeles was down 29% in the second quarter of the year compared to the year before.
MORE FROM FORBESSAG-AFTRA Talks Break Down: Where Does Hollywood Strike Stand Now?By Toni FitzgeraldMORE FROM FORBESHollywood Writers Strike Ends: Deal Finalized After 148 Days Of Work StoppageBy Ana Faguy
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I am a Boston-based reporter covering breaking news. I previously covered local news in the greater Boston area, and I graduated from Northeastern University in 2017.
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