SAG-AFTRA Teams With Nielsen to Validate Streaming Data Provided by Studios

Streamers provide select performance data to the union as part of the historic deal struck last year

Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland at a press conference following the board's approval of the new SAG-AFTRA contract (Getty Images)

SAG-AFTRA has enlisted Nielsen to cross-check the streaming data the union will be receiving from Hollywood studios as part of the historic new deal struck in 2023, which provides bonuses based on streaming performance of movies and shows.

The union said in a statement that in Nielsen, it will have “an objective source of domestic viewership data for original streaming programming” to compliment the performance numbers provided by the studios.

“New business models require new tools, and that’s why we’ve enlisted Nielsen,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland in a statement. “The information they provide will give us the means to cross-check the data streamers give us and ensure employers are fulfilling their contractual obligations to our members.”

The Nielsen data will “inform the union’s forecasting and enforcement efforts” and serve as a “consistent and comparable lens through which the performance of streaming titles across various distribution platforms can be analyzed,” a statement announcing the partnership said.

“The rapid evolution of the media landscape and audience behaviors over the past decade has not only affected how content is consumed and measured, but also greatly impacts the financial models on which the entertainment industry operates,” said Nielsen CEO Karthik Rao. “We are incredibly proud that SAG-AFTRA has chosen Nielsen as the source for objective and consistent audience measurement insights in the streaming space.”

As part of the deal struck between SAG-AFTRA and the studios last year, a performance-based bonus model rewards shows and films watched by at least 20% of a streamer’s subscribers, which is the same arrangement agreed to by the Writers Guild of America in its deal in September. The big difference is that while WGA members will get a bonus equivalent to 50% of their fixed residual, SAG-AFTRA members will get a 100% bonus.


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