1, March, 2024
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Hollywood Studios and SAG-AFTRA Address Streaming Revenue and AI Concerns

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Hollywood is abuzz as Hollywood studios and the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) reinitiate discussions in an attempt to bring an end to a strike that has persisted for over 100 days. This strike initially saw actors standing in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who initiated their strike on May 2, with the actors joining the protest in July.

The ongoing dispute spans a range of topics, including but not limited to streaming revenue and the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI).

Here’s why this story matters:

The Players:

The Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) represents the studios and streaming platforms in negotiations with SAG-AFTRA. A significant development was the 1.6 lakh TV and film actors commencing an indefinite strike on July 14, aligning with screenwriters from WGA on picket lines. This marked the first dual strike in Hollywood in over six decades.

The Negotiations:

SAG-AFTRA presented a counteroffer on October 11, bringing major CEOs back to the negotiating table. Among them were prominent figures like Ted Sarandos of Netflix, Bob Iger from Disney, Donna Langley of NBCUniversal, and David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery. Talks resumed following a two-week break, showing a strong commitment to finding common ground.

Streaming Revenue Proposal:

A key focal point of the negotiations is SAG-AFTRA’s proposal regarding streaming services. They advocate for these platforms to pay 57 cents for each subscriber, with the proceeds directed to a fund benefiting SAG-AFTRA members. However, AMPTP deems this proposal as an “untenable economic burden.” SAG-AFTRA contends that this is essential to provide additional income to members involved in projects streamed online.

AI Safeguards and Pay Rates:

In addition to streaming issues, the two parties are grappling with AI safeguards in the entertainment industry and minimum pay rate increases for the next three years. Finding common ground is imperative, as the strike has already caused significant economic damage, resulting in a $6.5 billion loss to California’s economy and the loss of 45,000 jobs in the industry.

Impact on the 2024 Calendar:

Hollywood studios are growing increasingly concerned about the potential repercussions of an extended strike on the 2024 film calendar. Paramount Pictures, for instance, has rescheduled the release dates of major films, including Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible 8,” which has been postponed to 2025. These delays underscore the urgency of reaching an agreement and ending the strike to mitigate potential long-term effects.

As negotiations continue, the future of Hollywood’s entertainment industry hangs in the balance. Finding resolutions to these complex issues is essential not only for the industry’s stakeholders but also for the viewers eagerly anticipating their favorite shows and films. Stay tuned for further updates on these critical discussions.

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