Ad reps OK actors pact

Contract with SAG, AFTRA extended two years

Reps of the ad industry have approved a two-year extension of its contract with SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, two weeks after members of the actors unions endorsed the deal.

Agreement received approval Friday at the annual meeting of the Assn. of National Advertisers in Orlando, Fla. Key feature of the pact provides for a jointly funded study to examine alternative methods to compensate performers amid the growing array of new-media platforms.

“We now look forward to engaging a qualified independent consultant to conduct an in-depth study over the next two years to rethink the economic model under which actors are fairly paid and advertisers achieve an appropriate return on their investment,” said Bob Liodice, prexy-chief exec of ANA.

Reps of the industry and the unions are expected to name a consultant from among nine finalists within the next few weeks.

“Great challenges lie ahead,” said Douglas Wood, the ad industry’s lead negotiator. “Ensuring that talent payments in the rapidly changing marketing environment are handled in a mutually beneficial way will require all parties to act with a great spirit of collaboration.”

The extension goes into effect Oct. 30. Pact also includes $45 million in additional annual compensation; a 6% hike in minimum rates and residuals; coverage of all commercials that appear in new media; and a hike in employer contributions to pension and health plans from 14.3% to 14.8%.

Advertisers gain flexibility to edit commercials for the Internet and new media and can move TV commercials to the Internet and other new media for a lower rate for an eight-week period during the first year.

The unions, which staged a bitter six-month strike in 2000 against the ad industry, reached the outlines of a deal last spring on going ahead with the study. The Screen Actors Guild generates around 90% of the work under the ad pact, with guild-member earnings subject to pension and health contributions rising 41% between 2000 and 2005 to $750 million.

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