The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the negotiating entity representing the Hollywood studios and streamers, including Netflix, reportedly offered SAG-AFTRA, the union representing about 160,000 working actors, more than $1 billion in increased financial compensation and benefits before the strike call last Thursday, July 13.
“The deal that SAG-AFTRA walked away from on July 12 is worth more than $1 billion in wage increases, pension and health contributions and residual increases and includes first-of-their-kind protections over its three-year term, including expressly with respect to AI [artificial intelligence],” read an AMPTP statement, according to Reuters, which first reported the offer, citing information from AMPTP.
SAG-AFTRA, which reportedly is calling the statement a mischaracterization of the pre-strike negotiations, is seeking greater compensation for streaming video distribution, among other issues.
The Directors Guild of America (DGA) in June inked a new labor deal with AMPTP that featured a 21% hike in streaming residuals that includes content streaming access to foreign subscribers across Netflix, Disney+ and other major platforms.
SAG-AFTRA is also seeking greater control of actors’ AI images as the technology’s use increases with content production.
Studios already use Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) when making actors appear younger or older, or creating realistic images, voiceovers and communication.
For example, in the new three-part Showtime documentary Goliath on the late NBA star Wilt Chamberlain, GAI is used to recreate Chamberlain’s voice-overs from media statements he made.
The technology and practice is increasingly being used by content producers for actors in other situations — an emerging business practice SAG-AFTRA wants to stay on top of.
The DGA labor deal with AMPTP expressly addressed safeguards for directors regarding GAI.
Specifically, the agreement outlines that “duties performed by DGA members must be assigned to a person, and GAI does not constitute a person.”
Content creators/producers are not allowed to use GAI in connection with “creative elements” without consultation with the director or other DGA-covered employees. The labor contract also calls for twice-yearly meetings with the studios to discuss and negotiate the use of GAI.