US & World

Actor unions cut deals with commercial producers

The two actors unions – SAG and AFTRA – have reached a tentative agreement with advertisers and ad agencies on new three-year contracts for commercials. KPCC’s Brian Watt reports.

Brian Watt: After nearly five weeks of talks in New York, negotiators reached the tentative deal a few hours past midnight – when the old contracts expired. Now, a joint national board of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists must approve the new contracts and send them to members for ratification.

In a statement, SAG and AFTRA say the new three-year agreements include a more than 5 percent increase in wages and other payments to commercial actors. The deals also establish the first payment structure for commercials made for the Internet.

The statement also says advertisers agreed to increase contributions to SAG and AFTRA’s health and pension plans by about $21 million. That had been a sticking point during contract talks. The advertisers and the actors unions also agreed to a pilot study that would test a system for paying actors for commercials based on ratings points – and not the number of times a commercial airs.