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Directors Guild Launching Contract Talks With Production Companies

The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have agreed to enter into formal contract negotiations for a successor deal to the DGA master contract on Feb. 10.

“The DGA and the AMPTP have also agreed that neither organization will comment to the media,” the organizations said Tuesday.

The DGA’s current contract with the AMPTP expires on June 30. Jon Avnet and Todd Holland were appointed co-chairs of the negotiations committee a year ago.

The current deal  covers more than 18,000 DGA members. DGA members ratified the current pact in early 2017 with a major gain in residuals on programs made for High Budget Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) — covering such services as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu — along with residuals payments for related foreign SVOD services and significant increases in the residuals for high-budget feature-length projects. It also included wage increases of 2.5% in the first year of the agreement and 3% in the second and third years.

Avnet and Holland sent a message to members Tuesday, acknowledging that negotiations will be starting closer to the expiration and asserting the reason for doing so stems from the emergence of new streaming services.

“While we have begun negotiations earlier in some past cycles, what dictates timing is our process, not a particular target date,” they said. “We are in the midst of a complicated, rapidly changing and evolving industry with studios continuing to consolidate and become increasingly vertically integrated, and new streaming services like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Peacock coming online. With this new landscape are complex issues to confront – and so it should come as no surprise that going through our process has been a lengthier undertaking than in previous years.”

Avnet and Holland also admitted that members will probably be in the dark until a deal is reached.

“There will likely be a period where you won’t hear from us in observance of our mutually agreed upon media blackout with the AMPTP,” the said. “Know that we are clear-eyed about the challenges ahead. This will be a hard-fought negotiation. But with a united membership behind us, and a Committee and staff who are well prepared, we are dedicated to fighting for a contract that will protect and advance your rights now and into the future. We will accept nothing less.”

The DGA also negotiated a separate three-year deal with Netflix in 2017 that will expire this year. Other than acknowledging that it has a deal with the streaming giant, the DGA has not disclosed the terms of that agreement.

The DGA has negotiated its deal prior to the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA during the past two negotiating cycles. The WGA leadership asked its members last week to approve a bargaining demand requiring AMPTP companies to agree to the WGA’s ban of agencies taking packaging fees and engaging in affiliate production.

The WGA master contract expires on May 1. SAG-AFTRA’s deal expires on June 30. Negotiations on successor deals for those contracts have not been set yet.

 

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