Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SAG Strike Update

As both sides go back and forth about 'inaccuracies' in the other's position (once again the AMPTP is spending thousands on public ads in the trades. nice.), here is the official info on the SAG strike ballots:

Screen Actors Guild today announced that strike authorization ballots will be mailed to paid-up SAG members on Friday January 2, 2009, and will be tabulated on Friday, January 23. A yes vote by 75% of members voting is required to pass the measure, which would authorize SAG's national board of directors to call a strike, if and when the board determines it is necessary.

The AMPTP took out a full page ad in Variety on Monday extolling the virtues of their offer. To respond, essentially SAG says that the studios are already making money on new media (Hulu.com, etc.) and those profits will only increase. Meanwhile, they don't want to share. Here is the full response:

“There they go again. The AMPTP’s ad is great fiction, with convoluted bullet points and confused messages -- and, it’s completely wrong.

Here’s the truth:

* Under the AMPTP’s current offer, streaming of new television product on hulu.com and other new media platforms pays day performers about $46 for the first year’s use. Not per run of the episode, but for the whole year, and that’s only after a 17-day FREE rerun window.

Peter Chernin, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., told industry analysts that his company’s ad-supported online programming site, the already $12 million profitable HULU.com, was a “replacement for reruns”.

* Under the AMPTP’s current offer, there is no union jurisdiction for original made for new media projects made for budgets under $15,000 per minute. That’s the vast majority of all new media. We have signed more than 800 productions to our SAG new media agreement. If we can do it, why can’t the AMPTP? We are certainly willing to show them how it’s done.

* Their proposal for original programming running on abc.com, nbc.com, cbs.com, and other network new media platforms is – zero. Yes, seriously, zero.

* Management is gutting the contract through the demand that we remove force majeure which has been a protection for actors since the first SAG agreement in 1937.

* Management has also demanded broad and sweeping changes to the more than half-century old clip consent provision which guarantees actors the right to consent to the use of their image and to be compensated for that use.

* Minimum increases in traditional media doesn’t do actors any good if there aren’t any minimums in new media.

How can that be anything but 'the end of residuals?'

How can that be anything but a situation in which it is 'impossible for actors to make a living?'

How can that be anything but 'a massive roll back?'

How can that be anything but 'life or death for SAG members?'

Make no mistake about it, this is exactly what management is offering in original programming streamed on new media:

Minimum Rate – Zero
Residual Structure – Zero
Overtime Protections – Zero
Forced Call Consideration – Zero
Young Performer (Minors) Protections – Zero

Management is offering a lousy deal with “Zero” in new media and is threatening the promotion of non-union work in a residual-free environment without minimum compensation. That could be the beginning of the end for actors' careers and livelihoods.”

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