The path towards a final deal between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP took an ominous turn when negotiations were “suspended” after talks broke down on Wednesday. The two sides had held several meetings over the several weeks, which most observers expected would culminate in an agreement. However, after Wednesday’s meeting, the studio side suspended their engagement, saying that talks with the actors were “no longer moving in a productive direction.”
Reports indicate that the two sides have reached a broad agreement on wages, casting minimums, and protection against the use of AI. The primary holdup appears to be the topic of residuals, with the studios proposing a similar arrangement to the one they agreed to with the writers while the actors are holding out for a “levy” on subscribers, which would cost studios more than $800 million annually.
Shortly after this announcement, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos at Bloomberg’s “Screentime” conference commented that SAG’s ask for a cut based on a streamer’s subscriber base was a “bridge too far,” amounting to “four to five times” the amounts agreed to with the writers.
In an interview with the New York Times, SAG’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland put the blame for the breakdown in negotiations squarely on the AMPTP. “They told us that they would not engage or agree to any proposal that was attached to the revenue streams. Let me be super clear: They walked away from this negotiation — not us.”
See also: Netflix’s Ted Sarandos Reveals Why Talks Broke Down with SAG-AFTRA (Deadline) and “It’s Preposterous!” SAG-AFTRA’s Duncan Crabtree-Ireland On Ted Sarandos’ Claim Of Union Seeking “Levy On Subscribers” (Deadline)