Negotiations between the studios and the striking actors’ union may have come to an abrupt halt last week, but according to Netflix today, everyone’s still talking — even when they’re not.
“The past six months have been difficult for our industry given the combined writers and actors strikes in the United States,” the streaming company said in its just-released third-quarter earnings report on Wednesday. “While we have reached an agreement with the WGA, negotiations with SAG-AFTRA are continuing,” they added, bizarrely.
“We are committed to resolving the remaining issues as quickly as possible so everyone can get back to work producing movies and TV shows that audiences will love.”
On a day that saw stocks generally tumble, Netflix essentially beat Wall Street expectations with new subscribers and more. But with the talks “suspension” by the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance on October 11, there was nothing continuing on the negotiating table today.
In fact, sources have confirmed that there are no new deliberations between AMPTP, CEO Gang of Four, and the 160,000-strong union led by Fran Drescher.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos was directly involved in the successful final round of bargaining with the WGA, along with Warner Bros.’ David Zaslav. Discovery, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, and Disney’s Bob Iger. Across the table with Drescher, SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, and others, the Gang of Four also participated in talks with SAG-AFTRA from October 2 to October 11, when everything went south.
As was the case even in pre-SAG-AFTRA strike talks with the WGA on July 14, it was the union’s revenue stream proposal for actors to share in the financial rewards of a successful streaming show or movie that proved a major hurdle for studios and streamers.
Speaking at a conference on the morning of October 12, Sarandos was far more expressive than Langley, who had been on the same stage just 14 hours before his exit from the now-derailed deliberations. “Last night, they taxed subscribers on top of that [other] “Regions,” the Netflix chief told the wealthy crowd about SAG-AFTRA revamping their revenue-sharing proposal. Justifying the abrupt halt to the talks because “the talks are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” Sarandos repeated many of the talking points made by AMPTP the night before criticizing SAG-AFTRA for not accepting what was offered to it.
At New York Comic Con on October 14, SAG-AFTRA’s Crabtree-Ireland had a very first look at Sarandos’ version of what happened. “Preposterous! It’s preposterous!” he said of rejecting the renewed revenue-sharing proposal. “This is like saying workers should be compensated for their work as a tax. that’s wrong.
Expecting to be splitting hairs that the suspension doesn’t mean talks are officially over, Deadline has reached out to Netflix regarding their “ongoing” statement. No response yet, but we will update if and when the streamer gets back to us.
SAG-AFTRA members took to established picket lines today, at Netflix and other studio headquarters. October 21 will mark the 100th day of the Actors Union strike.
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