Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos weighs in on actors’ strike deadlock

Hollywood sign WGA writers strike negotiations
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Netflix boss Ted Sarandos, who was in the room during negotiations, has offered his take on why actors’ strike talks have stalled. 

Hopes have faded that SAG-AFTRA (the actors’ union) and the AMPTP (the alliance of studios) would come to a swift resolution and end the months-long Hollywood strikes. As we reported yesterday, both sides have walked away from the negotiating table with no immediate plans to return. We imagine that’s simply to let cooler heads prevail rather than the beginning of a months-long period of zero communication (as we saw with the recent writers’ strike). Hopefully, representatives for both sides will be back in the same room pretty soon.

One person in that room who was looking to get a deal done was Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos. The streaming platform’s head honcho was one of several major studio bosses directly involved in negotiations, which tells you how serious the AMPTP are about wanting to find a way forwards. However, Sarandos has been speaking about SAG-AFTRA’s demands, stating that the actors’ guild is simply asking for too much when it comes to an increase in residual payments (that being one of the two remaining sticking points, along with restrictions on the use of AI).

According to The Hollywood ReporterSarandos was speaking at a Bloomberg conference on Thursday during which he said that the AMPTP had offered the actors’ guild a “success-based bonus” along the lines of the deal the writers’ guild recently agreed, which he claims cost the studios “four or five times more” than they are currently paying.

Sarandos states that SAG-AFTRA are instead demanding a levy on every single streaming subscriber, something the AMPTP have called “an untenable economic burden” that would cost more than $800 million per year. For its part, SAG-AFTRA have also released a statement, accusing the AMPTP of using “bully tactics” and claiming that the alliance of studios are overstating the figures by some 60 percent. The truth of course probably lies somewhere in the middle, but if Sarandos is publicly throwing out grossly inaccurate figures, that will only inflame tensions between both parties.

Wherever the truth lies, things have definitely taken an acrimonious turn, and the chances of a swift resolution seem increasingly remote. Let’s hope for everybody whose pockets are currently lighter because of the strike that talks get back on track soon. With the actors’ guild knowing studio pipelines need to start firing up soon, though, it looks like the hardball negotiating tactics are set to continue.

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