×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

SAG-AFTRA, Ad Industry Agree on Waiver for Low-Budget Digital Commercials

SAG-AFTRA and the advertising industry have reached an agreement aimed at allowing union members to work on digital low-budget commercial productions.

The Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations and SAG-AFTRA made the announcement Thursday. They agreed on a waiver to the current contract that applies only to productions with budgets of $50,000 and under — an area that’s currently mostly handled outside SAG-AFTRA’s jurisdiction.

The union and industry reached a three-year deal on a new master contract in April, 2016. SAG-AFTRA represents about 160,000 members and face discipline if they perform non-union work.

“After listening to the concerns of our signatories and with the JPC’s member needs in mind, both organizations have decided to offer a waiver for commercial digital low budget productions,” the two organizations said. “While a waiver of this scope is rare, the union and the JPC felt it necessary to create this waiver mid-contract to offer relief to ad agencies that are losing clients to non-signatory ad agencies on digital work. Our hope is that they will now be able to retain this work and maintain those highly creative and productive relationships with advertisers.”

The statement also said that non-union work in the area of digital (internet and new media) commercials has grown over the years.

“While the rates under this waiver are negotiable, it will secure more work for our members and provide contributions towards health and pension benefits,” it noted. “This waiver applies solely to new low budget digital commercial productions with budgets of $50,000 and under. Any digital commercial with a budget over $50,000 is still covered by the existing terms and conditions of the Commercials Contract and paid at not less than the minimums set under the Internet or New Media provisions.”

SAG-AFTRA battled with the ad industry in 2015 over the issue of its members performing non-union work through its Commercials Organizing and Recapture Initiative. SAG-AFTRA asserted it had caught 40 non-union commercials being produced by advertisers already signed to the commercials contracts — and turned all of those into union commercials.

The 2015 campaign never mentioned the bitter six-month commercials strike in 2000, during which SAG and AFTRA staged hundreds of protests and launched a boycott against Tide and Ivory Soap. In the aftermath, it banned 75 thesps for periods ranging from six months to five years and fined Elizabeth Hurley and Tiger Woods $100,000 each for performing in non-union spots during the strike.

The strike became a major issue in subsequent election campaigns, with moderates contending it was unnecessary while activists argued that advertisers’ hard-line stance left SAG with no other option. Linda Howard, the widow of Ken Howard, resurrected the issue up in this summer’s election campaign.

(SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White is pictured above)

Correction: The previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the agreement would allow union members to work on non-union productions.

More Digital

  • Sinemia

    Sinemia Shuts Down U.S. Movie-Ticket Subscription Service

    Sinemia, a would-be rival to MoviePass, is closing down its U.S. operations — telling customers it could not find “a path to sustainability” amid legal headaches, competitive pressures and the challenging economics of the business model. The company announced the shutdown in a notice on its website Thursday. “While we are proud to have created [...]

  • APOS: Asia Streamer Hooq Heads for

    APOS: Asia Streamer Hooq Heads for 100 Original Shows

    Asian video streaming service Hooq has committed itself to developing at least 100 original shows and films by the end of this year. They will be produced in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India, and range in genre terms from horror to comedy and from factual to lifestyle. The company has begun the immediate release [...]

  • APOS: Turner and Tencent Reteam on

    APOS: Turner and Tencent Reteam on Tuzki-Starring 'Second Time'

    Turner Asia Pacific and China’s Tencent are joining forces for “Second Time Around,” a Chinese drama that will air later this year. The series makes use of Tuzki, a Turner owned animated character that has become famous as an emoticon in Tencent’s WeChat universe. Turner is licensing the character and will invest in the series [...]

  • eOne Names Bill Wilson Senior VP

    eOne Names Bill Wilson Senior VP

    Entertainment One (“eOne”) has tapped Bill Wilson as Senior Vice President Digital Operations and Innovation, Music, the company announced today. Wilson will oversee all aspects of digital strategy across the company’s music business, including label service, talent management, music publishing and live entertainment, according to the announcement.  Wilson will be based in New York City and [...]

  • Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Someone Great

    'Someone Great' Director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson on Reimagining the Rom-Com

    Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of the MTV series “Sweet/Vicious,” recently made her feature debut with “Someone Great,”  now streaming on Netflix. The film follows three friends as they navigate relationships and work in New York City.  Here, the writer-director opens up on reimagining the rom-com, and women changing the face of Hollywood. The three young [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content