The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) suspended talks with SAG-AFTRA after the studios refused to counter the union's latest offer. The SAG-AFTRA strike began on July 14.
As reported by Variety, the AMPTP says that the gap between the two sides is “too great.” The Variety report continues, “In a statement to members after midnight, the union accused the studios of engaging in ‘bully tactics,' and said that the studios had walked away from the bargaining table after refusing to counter the union’s latest offer. The union expressed ‘profound disappointment' with the latest development, and urged members to show up at picket lines to express their solidarity.”
The Primary Stumbling Block Is a SAG-AFTRA Proposal to Share in Streaming Revenue
SAG-AFTRA wants to share streaming revenue, which the AMPTP says will cost $800 million a year. The actors' union says that figure is blown out of proportion, and the proposal would cost streaming platforms 57 cents per subscriber per year. According to Variety, “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 success-based bonus won by the Writers Guild of America.”
“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,” SAG-AFTRA said to its members. “These companies refuse to protect performers from being replaced by AI, they refuse to increase your wages to keep up with inflation, and they refuse to share a tiny portion of the immense revenue YOUR work generates for them.”
In response, the AMPTP said in a statement, “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.”
SAG-AFTRA added, “The companies are using the same failed strategy they tried to inflict on the WGA – putting out misleading information in an attempt to fool our members into abandoning our solidarity and putting pressure on our negotiators. But, just like the writers, our members are smarter than that and will not be fooled.”
The AMPTP statement continues, “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.”
As earlier reported on Wealth of Geeks, WGA members voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying the contract by the studios. The industry hoped a SAG-AFTRA agreement would follow soon afterwards, but that is not happening.