Streaming services like Netflix will pay celebrities bonuses of approximately $40 million per year as part of the tentative labor agreement made between the SAG-AFTRA actors union and major Hollywood studios, union leaders announced on Friday after their board approved the arrangement. The agreement of providing bonuses was reached between the SAG-AFTRA actors union and major Hollywood studios.
86% of SAG-AFTRA’s national board gave its approval to the proposed three-year contract, which the union stated was worth more than $1 billion over the course of those three years.
In addition to the usual residuals given for the screening of movies or series, the contract stipulates the establishment of a new fund to pay performers for future views of their work on streaming services. This is in addition to the residuals paid for the screening of movies or series.
The officials of the union bragged about immediate compensation hikes of 11% for background actors and immediate wage increases of 7% for others and bonuses.
In addition to that, they highlighted the hard-fought victories on AI. “For the very first time, informed consent and fair compensation guardrails will be in place around the use of artificial intelligence in our industry,” the main negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said. “These guardrails will be in place around the use of artificial intelligence in our industry.”
According to Crabtree-Ireland, the contract includes “new terms of bonuses to ensure that sets have proper hair and makeup for all performers, including those who have diverse and textured hair and complexions.” This pertains to Black actors and other actors of color, who have long brought attention to racist practices in Hollywood hair and makeup departments.
Many black actors have stated in the past that they have been told that productions “didn’t have the budget” for styling their type of hair, or that they have come across stylists who appeared to have no experience dealing with their hair type or skin tone. This is something that has happened to them in the past.
According to Crabtree-Ireland, the contract besides bonuses would also establish a “requirement to have intimacy coordinators for scenes involving nudity or simulated sex,” which would be a new requirement.
The ratification of the agreement with Netflix, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and the other members of Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) is now up for a vote among the union members.
According to Crabtree-Ireland, the polls are not likely to remain open past the beginning of December.
Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, stated that the organization has only partially accomplished its goal of persuading streaming services to split more revenue with performers. Despite the fact that these corporations had previously rejected plans that included a fee per member, they have now consented to additional bonus payments.
During a press conference, Drescher shared the news that “we opened a new revenue stream.” “We found ourselves in a new pocket.”
As part of the agreement, 75% of the $40 million pool would be distributed to performers working on the most successful streaming shows. The remaining twenty-five percent will be placed in a fund that will be used to compensate actors working on other streaming series.
The SAG-AFTRA board’s approval of the agreement was cited as a source of satisfaction by the AMPTP.
“We are also grateful that the entire industry has enthusiastically returned to work,” the organization stated in a statement.
The favorable vote from the board, which includes actors Billy Porter, Jennifer Beals, Sean Astin, and Sharon Stone, was not unexpected. Many of the same people served on the committee that negotiated the arrangement, so it was likely that they would all vote in favor of it. Because union leaders declared the strike to be ended as soon as a tentative settlement was reached with the AMPTP on Wednesday, rather than waiting for the acceptance of the contract, it lacked some of the drama that it may have had otherwise.
According to Crabtree-Ireland, artificial intelligence was one of the concerns that was settled in the closing hours of the negotiations.
According to him, production companies are required to get an actor’s permission before using their image to make a digital clone and also supply a detailed explanation. The actor would earn remuneration commensurate with the kind of work that would be performed on-screen by the digital duplicate.
According to Crabtree-Ireland, the contract also protects background performers from the unauthorized use of their digital duplicates in the production.
According to Crabtree-Ireland, a “very serious fight” broke out as a result of the utilization of generative AI to create “synthetic, fake performers.”
Companies are required to get the permission of any performers whose face traits are employed in the creation of a synthetic performer under the terms of the contract, even if there are multiple performers involved.
The studios are required to provide the union with notice if they plan to use generative AI to generate a synthetic performer, and the union earned the right to negotiate for pay on behalf of the actor whose features were used in the construction of that digital performer. This is to ensure that the actor is fairly compensated for their contribution to the production of the synthetic performer.
The agreement was reached on Wednesday, putting an end to the second of two strikes that occurred simultaneously in the United States entertainment industry and cost the economy of California more than $6 billion.
The first one, which was hosted by the Writers Guild of America (WGA), started in May and ran for a total of 148 days. SAG-AFTRA went on strike in July and just finished it this week, after a total of 118 days out of the workplace.