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New details emerge on the preliminary agreement reached between Hollywood studios and Sag-Aftra, the actors’ union, which ended a strike that lasted 118 days. The package – worth $1 billion – includes pay increases higher than those achieved by other unions this year, a “streaming revenue sharing bonus” and protections from artificial intelligence. The road to the approval of the agreement seems clear: the Sag-Aftra National Council approved it with a majority of 86%. Now the final approval is awaited: the text will be sent to the 160 thousand members on Monday 13 November, voting for ratification will begin on Tuesday 14 and should continue until 5 December, we read in the US media. “This win is everyone’s win,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s national executive director. The president of Sag-Aftra, Fran Drescher, however, warns: “We are not finished, we are only at the beginning.”
The text of the agreement has not yet been made public. However, after the vote of the National Council, some details were released in a press conference held on Friday 10 November. Among these – we read above Deadline – there is a double increase in minimum wages in the first year of the contract: +7% after ratification and another +4% from July 2024, for a total increase of 11%. Then, from July 2025, it goes up again: +3.5%. A specific chapter is dedicated to extras, the so-called background actors: +11% from November 12, +4% from July 2024 and +3.5% from July 2025.
The part on Artificial Intelligence is also crucial. In essence, he writes Variety, limits would have been placed on its use, without excluding it. And therefore: it will be possible to create digital replicas of the actors, but asking for their permission and paying them.
The streaming participation bonus
Then there is the issue of streaming and rights. A solution was found on this point by providing for a “participation bonus” with an estimated value of 40 million dollars per year, around 120 million if we look at the entire duration of the new agreement (500 were requested). It should work like this: the more successful a production is, the higher the actors’ royalties should be. As foreseen in the writers’ agreement, the bonus would only be triggered if the film or show obtains 20% of views on the total subscribers to the reference platform in the first 90 days of its release.