The Big Picture
- Talks between SAG-AFTRA and major entertainment studios have broken down, causing a major setback for the stagnant Hollywood industry.
- SAG-AFTRA wants a share of streaming revenue and protection against the use of artificial intelligence, which the studios find economically unfeasible.
- The actors strike has reached its 90th day, nearing the length of the 1980 SAG strike that lasted 95 days.
Overnight, potentially devastating news for the Hollywood machine emerged as negotiations between SAG-AFTRA — the actors’ union — and The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke down, with no end in sight. Talks between the major entertainment studios and the union, which represents tens of thousands of actors, have crumbled. On Thursday morning, both parties declared that they still stood at a considerable distance from an agreement on the most critical matters.
The breakdown in negotiations represents a major setback for the entertainment industry, which has been in a state of stagnation for months due to concurrent strikes by both actors and screenwriters. Earlier this week there were hopes over a quick resolution to the actors strike when the Writers Guild of America finally settled terms after five months when over 8,000 screenwriters officially approved a new three-year contract with the studio alliance, bringing their summer-long strike to a close. There was hopeful anticipation that an agreement with the actors would swiftly ensue, paving the way for a full-scale revival of Hollywood.
SAG-AFTRA wants a share of streaming revenue for all union-covered shows — both made-for-streaming and films and TV shows licensed from other platforms — which would go well beyond the incentivised bonus scheme which was won by the Writers Guild of America, as well as protection against the increasing use of artificial intelligence.
What the Two Parties Said
SAG-AFTRA released the following statement expressing their dismay at the studios and the industry CEOs:
It is with profound disappointment that we report the industry CEOs have walked away from the bargaining table after refusing to counter our latest offer. We have negotiated with them in good faith, despite the fact that last week they presented an offer that was, shockingly, worth less than they proposed before the strike began.
In their own statement, the AMPTP claimed that the demands of SAG-AFTRA were too great and would cause an “untenable economic burden”.
“SAG-AFTRA’s current offer included what it characterized as a viewership bonus that, by itself, would cost more than $800 million per year – which would create an untenable economic burden. SAG-AFTRA presented few, if any, moves on the numerous remaining open items.
After meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.
We hope that SAG-AFTRA will reconsider and return to productive negotiations soon.”
The actors strike is now in its 90th day, and is approaching the duration of the 1980 SAG strike, which lasted 95 days.