Talks between studios and striking actors’ guild break down

Hollywood sign WGA writers strike negotiations
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Following the writers’ deal, anybody hoping for a quick end to the SAG-AFTRA strike in the US may have to think again as negotiations break off. 

The actors’ strike in America hit its 91st day today and whilst talks with US studios have been progressing, things have taken a turn for the worse. Following the writers cutting a deal last month, ending their long-running strike, hopes were high that the alliance of studios were keen to get the industry up and running and would make haste to meet the demands of the striking actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA.

However, there are reportedly two major sticking points preventing a deal from being done. Negotiations in those two areas are said to be so contentious that talks yesterday ‘broke down’ and it’s likely that – after five consecutive days of wrangling – both sides are instead going to take a break from negotiations.

According to Deadlinethe two areas that both parties cannot reach terms on are streaming residuals and use of AI. As far as streaming residuals go, the actors’ guild are looking for a 2% cut of streaming revenue on top of existing residual arrangements. The AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) is keen to not start handing out portions of streaming revenue, though, and is said to be firmly holding the line on that one.

The two parties are said to be some way apart on that issue, with the use of generative AI proving to be a real stumbling block as well as actors look to protect themselves from technological exploitation. We’re clearly on the outside looking in here, but the actors’ guild looks like it is prepared to maintain this strike until the AMPTP offers it the kind of deal that puts the use of AI into a very controlled and regimented position.

AI is clearly seen as an existential threat by SAG-AFTRA, which isn’t going to fold on that point, so if you ask us the alliance of studios should give ground on that one and earn some goodwill to get a better agreement on streaming residuals. There you go AMPTP, fixed it for you.

We’ll bring you more updates on the negotiations as we hear them, but given that there’s apparently lots of grumbling around Hollywood from directors (who are unimpressed with the deal their union got them without striking), SAG-AFTRA knows it has to make its strike count for something to avoid the same dissatisfied reaction, especially because its members have been unable to earn a living for so long.

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