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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Hollywood actors and studios, resuming talks, plan to meet again today


Streaming remains the biggest sticking point for actors in the SAG-AFTRA union, which set up a picket line outside Fox Studios last week.

By Brooks Barnes


Negotiations between striking Hollywood actors and entertainment companies ended Monday with the sides jointly announcing a return to talks today.


The session Monday — the first between actors and studios in more than two months — was held at the Los Angeles headquarters for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the union that represents tens of thousands of film and television actors. The sides will break for a day, in part to discuss strategy independently, having spent much of the first day back at the bargaining table listening to each other’s position in areas of disagreement, according to two people briefed on the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic nature of the negotiations.


The discussions were cordial and constructive, they said.


Although disagreements remain on multiple fronts, the biggest sticking point involves streaming. Actors have asked for a revenue-sharing agreement for streaming shows and films — specifically, 2% of the revenue generated by such content. Entertainment companies have called the demand a nonstarter.


The actors have also asked for wage increases, including an 11% raise in the first year of a new contract. The studios last proposed a 5% raise.


A deal between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of entertainment companies, would allow the American film and television business to swing back into motion. Hollywood’s creative assembly lines have been at a near-standstill since May, when screenwriters went on strike. The actors joined them on picket lines in mid-July.


The Writers Guild of America, which represents 11,500 screenwriters, reached a tentative agreement with studios last week. Although the Writers Guild and studio alliance remained at odds for most of the summer, they reached a deal in three days of marathon negotiations, leading many people in Hollywood to hope that restarted talks with SAG-AFTRA would proceed apace.


The financial damage done to the entertainment industry and the many businesses that depend on it has been significant. The toll on the economy of California alone exceeds $5 billion, Gov. Gavin Newsom has said.


As with the final Writers Guild talks, several top Hollywood executives participated directly in the Monday session with SAG-AFTRA. Attending were Ted Sarandos, co-chair of Netflix; David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery; Donna Langley, chair of the NBCUniversal Studio Group; and Disney CEO Bob Iger. The executives are expected to return today.

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