When talks between SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios to end the actors strike broke down last week, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, AMPTP, said the “gap” between the two parties was “too great.”
Actors are demanding a new streaming residual formula of $500 million, but the AMPTP is only willing to pay $20 million, making said “gap” $480 million. The calculations were reported on Tuesday by Variety.
The AMPTP said SAG-AFTRA’s current offer included “what it characterized as a viewership bonus.” The studio representatives said the “bonus” alone would cost over $800 million per year and “create an untenable economic burden.” In an update on its website, SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee said the AMPTP misrepresented its revenue share proposal by 60%.
SAG-AFTRA said its proposal would cost streaming platforms “less than 57¢ per subscriber each year” and Hollywood’s current business model has “eroded” actors’ residuals income.
“They have rejected our proposals and refused to counter,” the negotiating committee said at the time.
The SAG-AFTRA actors union has been on strike since July after its contract expired. The guild members’ demands include higher pay along with more contributions to pension and healthcare funds as well as recalculated residuals members are paid through streaming service revenue. The union also wants changes for “abusive” self-taping audition process and, like writers, protection against the use of artificial intelligence.
The guild members joined the Hollywood writers on the picket line and brought the entertainment industry to a grinding halt. With both groups on strike, the fate of the 2023-2024 television season looked grim. But even as the writers have gone back to work, having no actors means production can’t resume. Studios are beginning to feel the strain of the standoff in their bottom lines.
Warner Bros. Discovery was reported to possibly lose up to $500 million in adjusted earnings this year due to the strikes. In August, the entertainment industry had lost 17,000 jobs “reflecting strike activity,” according to an employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fallout of the continued actors strike is already being felt. Netflix reportedly plans to restructure its animation unit which will result in job cuts. The streaming giant is also considering outsourcing some work to third-party companies.
With talks suspended, it’s uncertain when the two organizations will find common ground.