After less than two weeks, the latest negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the studios and streamers have broken down and been “suspended,” according to the AMPTP.
The Carol Lombardini-led group released a statement late Wednesday, stating, “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.” A source described the talks as “much rockier than usual.”
One of the main sticking points in the negotiations seems to be SAG-AFTRA’s demand for revenue sharing from successful streaming shows. The studio CEO-led negotiating team has deemed this proposal, estimated to make up around 2% of potential profits, an “untenable economic burden.” They argue it would cost them over $2.4 billion over the course of a new three-year contract or “more than $800 million per year.”
The revenue sharing proposal has been a non-starter for the studios since SAG-AFTRA first presented it in the early summer, and it ultimately led to the guild going on strike on July 14.
“We hope that SAG-AFTRA will reconsider and return to productive negotiations soon,” added the AMPTP.
The AMPTP highlights that they offered the same terms for general wage increases, High-Budget SVOD residuals, and viewership bonuses that were accepted by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA). However, SAG-AFTRA rejected these terms.
The AMPTP’s sharp statement came after talks at SAG-AFTRA’s Miracle Mile headquarters had concluded for the day. It also followed NBCUniversal chair Donna Langley’s appearance at the Bloomberg conference in Hollywood, where she participated in bargaining with the actors guild.
The negotiations have been ongoing since October 2, with other CEOs, including Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav, joining Langley and Disney’s Bob Iger at the bargaining table. SAG-AFTRA’s President Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland have represented the guild.
Today’s suspension of negotiations came on the same day that the Directors Guild of America sent a letter to its members praising the “extraordinary gains” made in their agreement with the studios. This deal was seen by many in the industry as an assurance to prevent a SAG-AFTRA strike.
Despite the breakdown, the AMPTP states that they had made significant offers during the negotiations. These offers included a first-of-its-kind success-based residual for High-Budget SVOD productions, the highest percentage increase in minimums in 35 years, substantial salary increases for major role performers on High Budget SVOD Programs, and many other improvements and compensation adjustments.
The AMPTP extends an invitation for SAG-AFTRA to reconsider and resume productive negotiations.