SAG-AFTRA, Netflix Enter Into Historic Contract
This May 6, 2018 file photo shows Ted Sarandos at the 2018 Netflix FYSee Kick-Off Event in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Agreement is the first the union has signed directly with a global streaming service
  • LOS ANGELES
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Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Netflix have agreed to an industry-transformative contract covering dramatic live-action productions.

The first-of-its-kind deal between the union and the global streaming service recognizes performance capture as covered work and includes coverage of dubbing, which applies to all of Netflix’s foreign-language live-action and animated motion pictures dubbed into English. 

To date, Netflix has produced under the standard SAG-AFTRA television and film agreements.

Now, the new deal also includes gains in theatrical residuals, greater rights for members in the areas of options and exclusivity, improved overtime rules for stunt performers and specific protections for members regarding harassment and auditions.

The deal includes the same harassment protections contained in the Network Code agreement, and Commercials Contracts, in addition to a ban on auditions in private residences and hotel rooms. Netflix has set the industry standard with its Respect at Netflix program that is held as the gold standard in the industry for awareness of gender equality and promoting the participation of all regardless of gender, ethnicity or race. 

“We are always looking to adapt and grow within the changing environment of our industry. This groundbreaking agreement speaks to that,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Netflix recognizes the value of working with SAG-AFTRA members, and the contributions we make in this global industry. I am gratified that this deal achieved longstanding member goals in particular the recognition of performance capture work, and other important improvements that members want and deserve.”

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos added: “We are pleased that we were able to work with SAG-AFTRA to address these issues unique to Netflix’s production needs and we commend SAG-AFTRA leadership for its creative approach.”

SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White said, “I want to salute the contracts staff led by Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez for its incredible work on this historic agreement. As Netflix continues to ramp up its series and feature film production, it can do so more efficiently under this bilateral agreement, which provides enhanced terms and protections for all our members.” 

The deal, which except as specified follows the Codified Basic Agreement and Television Agreements, was overwhelmingly approved by the National Board at its one-day videoconference plenary today. The agreement expires on June 30, 2022.

Additional highlights of the contract include: 

  • Minimum salary and turnaround provisions shall now be applicable to all Netflix programs regardless of whether they trigger the “high budget SVOD” thresholds, an important breakthrough for performers.
  • Netflix has recognized that performances recorded using performance capture technology is covered work with all the protections of any other type of performance, subject to a mutual reservation with respect to fully animated motion pictures.
  • Concessions in the area of consecutive employment for guest stars and day performers employed on episodic series.
  • All Netflix dubbing for foreign language live-action and animated motion pictures dubbed into English in the United States to be done under a union agreement with improved terms.
  • The agreement covers how to pay residuals for motion pictures that were produced under a SAG-AFTRA theatrical contract that are exhibited on Netflix.
  • Stunt performers will no longer have adjustments considered in determining their eligibility for overtime for episodic productions.
  • Historic new limitations on the ability to advance pay residuals.

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