Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos elaborated on the AMPTP’s decision Wednesday to call off negotiations with SAG-AFTRA, speaking at the Bloomberg Screentime conference the following morning.
He cited an added levy based on subscribers the actors guild proposed, saying that was a “bridge too far” compared to the studios’ original offer of a “success-based bonus.”
“What happened last night is that [SAG-AFTRA] introduced basically a levy on subscribers on top of this deal,” Sarandos said at the Los Angeles event. “A levy on top of our revenue or per subscriber, with no insight into the revenue per subscriber or anything, we just felt like a bridge too far to add this deep into the negotiation.”
Sarandos said the “success-based bonus” is similar to the deal reached by the studios and the WGA, even noting that while the proposal for the actors guild would cost four to five times as much as the agreement for writers, the studios embraced the potential by “wrap[ping] their arms” around it.
“That issue that we got resolved with the writers was not only accepted in the deal, but ratified by a 99% vote of the writers’ guild,” Sarandos said. “I know that all these guilds are not created equal and they all have different needs and more bespoke needs, but like I said, that is one that worked that rewarded success, which we agreed with.”
The Netflix boss’s comments come just hours after the studios announced they suspended talks with the guild, citing the “gap” in negotiations that became “too great” in a Wednesday evening memo.
“Negotiations between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA have been suspended after SAG-AFTRA presented its most recent proposal on Oct. 11,” the statement from the AMPTP read. “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.”
In a statement sent to its members and posted to social media shortly after the AMPTP release, SAG-AFTRA accused the studios of using “bully tactics” towards the guild, adding that the AMPTP “intentionally misrepresented” the cost of the guild’s proposal, overestimating its cost by 60%.
Prior to the AMPTP’s decision going public Wednesday evening, NBCUniversal’s chief content officer Donna Langley expressed her commitment to reaching a fair deal with striking actors with no time pressure, stating “we’ve been spending time with the actors and we we want to spend as much time as it takes until we can reach resolution and get the industry back on its feet.”
Sarandos and Langley were among the key Hollywood executives who were present at several WGA negotiations in late September prior to the resolution of the writers’ strike. Disney’s Bob Iger and Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav also attended the meetings.
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