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Negotiations suspended between Hollywood studios and actors’ union

By Rob McLean and Liam Reilly, CNN

(CNN) — The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said late Wednesday that negotiations with SAG-AFTRA — the union representing about 160,000 actors — have been suspended.

“After meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” the AMPTP said in a statement.

The suspension came after the actors’ union presented its latest proposal to the AMPTP, according to the studios’ statement.

AMPTP said the union’s latest offer “included what it characterized as a viewership bonus that, by itself, would cost more than $800 million per year — which would create an untenable economic burden. SAG-AFTRA presented few, if any, moves on the numerous remaining open items.”

Speaking at the Bloomberg Screentime conference Thursday, Netflix’s co-chief executive, Ted Sarandos, said that “what happened last night was not steady or progressive.”

According to Sarandos, the chiefs of major studios offered SAG-AFTRA a “success-based bonus” akin to the one ratified in the WGA’s contract. Instead, SAG-AFTRA proposed a levy on subscribers in addition to the previous deal that would see the union take a certain amount of money for every subscriber.

“I know that all these guilds are not created equal, and they all have different needs and more bespoke needs,” Sarandos said. “But a levy on top of our revenue or per subscriber with no insight into the revenue per subscriber or anything, it just felt like a bridge too far to add this deep into the negotiations.”

The actors’ union lashed out on Wednesday, accusing the Hollywood studios of offering a contract that lacked the actors’ critical demands on reining in AI and failed to deliver sufficient wage increases. The union praised the WGA writers union for holding out for a better deal and encouraged its members to do the same.

“The companies are using the same failed strategy they tried to inflict on the WGA – putting out misleading information in an attempt to fool our members into abandoning our solidarity and putting pressure on our negotiators,” the actors’ union said, in a statement on X. “But, just like the writers, our members are smarter than that and will not be fooled.

In this round of negotiations, AMPTP said it had made a list of offers to the union that included a “first-of-its-kind success-based residual for High-Budget SVOD productions” and several AI protections.

SVOD refers to subscription video on demand, which are streaming services that include Neflix and Amazon Prime Video.

SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since July 14, joining the fray a little more than two months after the writers’ strike began.

The writers’ strike ended in late September, and members of the Writers Guild of America ratified a new contract with Hollywood and television studios on October 9.

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