The actors strike is over, with the union representing performers last weekwith Hollywood studios. Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) characterized the deal as a big win, with the contract achieving significant breakthroughs on actors’ pay and putting guardrails on the industry’s use of generative AI.
Here’s a rundown of what actors will get under the new contract, which SAG-AFTRA members must still ratify.
1. Minimum compensation increases
Performers will earn a 7% wage increase effective immediately. That initial pay hike will be followed by a 4% increase on July 1, 2024, and a 3.5% increase on July 1, 2025.
Background actors, stand-ins and photo doubles will immediately earn an 11% wage increase, followed by the same 4% and 3.5% hikes as general performers in 2024 and 2025.
2. Streaming bonuses
The new contract calls for actors to earn “a success payment,” along with the usual residual payments, if they work on streaming projects that attract a significant number of viewers.
The success metric is determined by the following formula: The total number of domestic streaming hours over the first 90 exhibition days is divided by the total runtime of the movie or a television series’ episodes to determine “domestic views.” The “success metric” is calculated by dividing the “domestic views” by the total number of domestic subscribers. If the result is at least 0.2, a bonus is paid.
Seventy-five percent of any bonus money will go to the performer, with the remainder going into a new streaming payment distribution fund to compensate performers who work on streaming shows.
3. Disclosure of viewership stats
On high budget streaming productions, streaming producers will be required to disclose the total number of hours the content was streamed both in the U.S. and Canada and abroad for each quarter. That’s intended to help actors determine if they’re being fairly compensated relative to a show’s distribution and popularity.
4. Limits on artificial intelligence
Film and TV producers must obtain consent from actors to create and use their digital replicas, as well as specify how they intend to use that digital likeness. Actors are entitled to compensation at their usual rate for the number of days they would otherwise have been paid for to do the work being performed by a digital replica.
5. Minimum number of background actors
The new labor contract requires that an increased number of background actors be hired on union terms on the West Coast to equal the minimum number in New York.
Under the new agreement, on TV shows in West Coast cities, 25 background actors, up from 22, will be covered by the contract. For feature films, the West Coast minimum jumps from 57 to 85.
6. Relocation bonuses
Performers in series who have to relocate for work will be entitled to a maximum relocation benefit of up to $5,000 a month for six months — a 200% increase on the previous amount.