Unions back ad study

SAG, AFTRA take on emerging distrib platforms

HOLLYWOOD — SAG and AFTRA have taken a step toward supporting a study on changing revenue models for the advertising industry.

The unions and the ad biz’s Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations have agreed to invite nine consultants to submit proposals for the study, which would explore how to compensate actors amid the plethora of new platforms for commercials such as cell phones, video-on-demand and iPods.

SAG and AFTRA still haven’t hammered out a specific agreement to extend the current contract, which expires Oct. 29. Union leaders agreed last month to the general outlines of a deal with the ad biz for an extension of at least a year (Daily Variety, April 12).

Announcement said the request for proposal includes the statement, “SAG, AFTRA, and the JPC realize that any study must be comprehensive and take into consideration the myriad of interests of all the parties — performers and their unions on the one hand and advertisers and their partners — advertising agencies, both large and small, production companies, talent payroll services, casting directors, and cost consultants — on the other hand.” 

An extension of the current contract would have to be approved by SAG and AFTRA members. Extending the contract would preserve the current model of paying SAG actors for primetime TV ads via residuals.

The ad industry has floated the idea of replacing residuals with an annual $19,000 buyout that would cover a year, and it first asked for a yearlong extension last year in order to perform the study.

SAG and AFTRA struck the ad industry for six months in 2000, gaining big hikes in cable rates and Internet jurisdiction. In 2003, SAG and AFTRA agreed to the current deal, which included hikes in pension and health contributions and a gain of 7% over the three years in minimum fees.

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