Television commercial production was up 16 percent from July to August this year while Screen Actors Guild (SAG) fees were down 97 percent, according to a Sept. 7 claim by the Joint Policy Committee on Talent Union Relations (JPC). The JPC is the advertising industry's bargaining arm in the SAG/AFTRA contract and commercial strike negotiations.
The JPC, which is scheduled to return to the bargaining table with SAG under the auspices of federal mediators on Sept. 13, released its claim on the day of a well-publicized strike rally by actors at the Royale Theatre in Manhattan.
Statistics notwithstanding, the JPC's message was that "commercial production continues to increase during the strike."
According to JPC's written statement, "2,010 new commercials were shot during the strike in August 2000, a 16 percent increase over the 1,725 commercials shot during the strike in July 2000, when industry production was 80 percent of non-strike-year production."
JPC added that "Screen Actor Guild (SAG) session fees for August 2000 totaled $161,743, a 97 percent drop from $5,713,362 in session fees made by SAG members during the non-strike period in August 1999. Non-union session fees increased almost 1600 percent from $243,623 in July 1999 to $3,837,191 in August 2000. "When the July and August 2000 numbers are totaled," the JPC statement read, "SAG session fees totaled $301,911 during the strike compared to $9,313,025 in session fees during the July - August, 1999, non-strike period -- a 97 percent drop in SAG session fees. Non-union session fees during the non-strike July - August, 1999 period totaled $444,335 compared to $7,427,305 during the July - August, 2000 strike period -- a 1,671 percent increase in non-union session fees." As reported earlier, SAG called the strike against the producers of commercials on May 1 over residual payments to actors for broadcast work and to force the issue of a better royalty system for commercials. SAG also seeks recognition of the commercial value of work presented on the Internet.
-- By Murdoch McBride