At 8 PM, Oct. 22, after three days of federally mediated talks, negotiators from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) reached a tentative agreement with the advertising interests represented by that industry's Joint Policy Committee (JPC). The result of the agreement will be a new commercial contract between actors and advertisers.
The deal is expected to end the commercial strike by actors, now the longest strike in entertainment history.
Details are still coming in, but Playbill On-Line has confirmed that a basic agreement has been reached. In this deal, there are four main points established between the parties. First, the actors will retain their residual rates for commercials broadcast on traditional television networks (SAG's so-called "Class A"). Second, the actors will see "all the cable money" they had sought, which means a 140 percent increase in cable residuals by the end of the new contract's third year. Third, the parties agreed to study new monitoring methods and technology for the tracking of commercial broadcasts. Finally, and perhaps most significant for the talent unions is that they will now have jurisdiction over commercials broadcast on the Internet.
"We got three out of four," a union source said.
Surprisingly, the Internet jurisdiction also comes with initial rates, one for commercials that "move over" to the Internet from other media, and another for commercials "made for the net." Neither rate has been released and it is assumed further discussion is planned on these points. The weekend agreement was expected, with many involved in the six-month-old commercial strike figuring that behind-the-scenes progress had been made after the actors began a national boycott of Proctor and Gamble products.
The talent unions will stage a press conference at midday Oct. 23 in the Theatre District to announce further details.
-- By Murdoch McBride