Ted Sarandos wants his amazing writers and actors to know he’s a union man through and through, and to feel their pain — even with no plans to resume talks with Netflix and other studios and broadcasters with WGA or SAG-AFTRA anytime soon.
“I grew up in a union household,” the co-CEO of Netflix announced on the top of the latest broadcast earnings call this afternoon.
“My dad was a member of IBEW Local 640, and he was a union electrician,” said Sarandos, who was born in Phoenix, Arizona. “And I remember his local area because that union was a huge part of our lives when I was growing up. I also remember on more than one occasion, my dad went out on strike. And I remember it because it takes a huge toll on your family, both financially and emotionally.”
Pitching his working-class credentials can be difficult even for ABC Sarandos, as the CEO earned more than $50 million last year.
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“So you should know that no one here inside AMPTP and I’m sure no one at SAG or anyone at WGA took any of this seriously,” he continued to add today. “We’re absolutely committed to getting to an agreement as soon as possible, an agreement that’s equitable, that enables the industry, and everyone in this field going forward,” Sarandos continued.
In a day of earnings for Tesla, United Airlines and others, Wednesday saw the Dow soar. The broadcast company announced that it added 5.9 million subscribers in the second quarter. However, with forecasts corrected and revenue targets missing in today’s earnings letter, Netflix stock took a nearly 4% hit in early after-hours trading.
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Despite his usual optimistic tone of the day, Batman Sarandos should know that he and the company have been at the center of much of the anger felt by members of the Syndicate about the tightening economics of the industry. The seemingly dismissive remarks of Disney CEO Bob Iger last week, berating how “unrealistic” and “disruptive” union members are being pushed aside, Netflix has been in the union spotlight since day one of the strikes in question. For example, the junkyard freefall that guild members have watched from streaming platforms over the past decade is often, rightly or wrongly, placed at the feet of Netflix.
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In that vein, just as Netflix’s earnings call kicked off today, it was revealed Grace and FrankieJane Fonda and Lily Tomlin will be outside Sunset Blvd HQ tomorrow. The stars of Netflix’s longest-running original series to date, The Codes previously emerged outside of Netflix in late June as WGA supporters, now members of SAG-AFTRA, along with co-star John Diane Raphael, went on strike.
With the WGA out on picket lines for more than 75 days and the 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA led by Fran Drescher deep in the first full week of the first combined strike since 1960, Sarandos averted any concerns that labor labor in Tinseltown might dry up. Netflix’s pipeline – even as local productions come to a halt. “We’ve put some content coming in to the letter,” he noted, referring to global purchases and home content. Squid game And Stealing money you have it on the shelf. “We said on the last call, we’re producing heavily across all kinds of content, TV, film, non-scripted, scripted, local, local, English, non-English, all of that stuff.”
“But that’s beside the point, the real point is we need to bring the strike to an end, so we can all move on.”
This last point from Sarandos may be the one thing that studios, broadcast screens, and those in the picket lines all agree on — from very different perspectives.
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