New SAG Commercial Contract


Details and a summary of the new commercial contract are posted on the Sag Website. For all SAG members it’s important that you vote. The first line is that there is a 6% rate increase on everything. That may be enough to make you vote yes.

I’m not sure how many actors are really aware of the ins and outs of the contract and the
changes in this one are very complicated. They have offered an alternative to the standard class A contract by offering buy-outs and different ways to bundle things. It will be up to the advertising agency to decide which way they want to go per project. It’s unclear if it’s for broadcast or if it will be used on the internet or social media. I believe if the bundles are chosen these are things you will know up front. I have no idea if this is better or worse but it’s movement. Movement is good. The pay raise of 6% goes into effect for anything that was shot after April 1st. I think my point is, like any contract negotiation there are good changes and not so good changes. If you really want to understand the changes before you vote, reach out to your agent or SAG. You don’t have a lot of time. I believe the votes have to be in by May 5th because the deadline is May 10th. Keep in mind that Sag/Aftra along with the JPC and the actors that are on the negotiating committee have agreed to this deal. If they hadn’t they would still be talking or at an impasse or on strike.

The commercial business is the worst I’ve seen it in 20 years. This has nothing to do
with union verses non union. The landscape of advertising has changed so fast because of the internet and social media. There is room for sooo much content, but the problem is how and where it’s being seen.  It’s an across the board money issue. How to spend it. What’s the most bang for your buck. CD’S have been cutting rates to match budgets when we have to. If we hold out for our full rate then they will just move on. I guess my point is that I don’t know what the result will be under the new contract but I do
think that the agencies that only do union work now have an option to give the their clients a way to save money…. Which could possibly result in shooting more broadcast content or even hire more actors. There are so many new bundling
options for class A, Internet, social media and OOT. Casting Directors are not part of any union and really have zero control on what an advertiser decides to do.
I can’t say that anyone who really cannot afford to shoot SAG work will now be able to, but for SAG members, compromises have to be made to keep advertising going. I have weeks that I wonder how anyone is going to sell any products anymore and I believe we
are knee deep in trying to re invent the commercial business.

So many changes so fast and there are weeks that I think I may go under. My business is at the mercy of things that I’m completed disconnected from. Streaming is huge and just getting bigger. If Netflix doesn’t advertise then how does anyone know about it or it’s deals and cross promotions because they don’t advertise on their streaming service. How will anyone know what kind of toilet paper to buy? This is stuff that is going to take time and it’s so much bigger than a union actors contract. I would never tell an actor which way to vote, but like in politics… VOTE.

I have a lot of friends in the music business and 10 years ago they said with streaming no artist will get rich unless they tour. I’m happy to say that they feel that they have come out on the other end and things are great again.

Let’s hope for the same thing for commercials.

Do not rely on the bits and pieces I’m giving you. Do your homework.

Beth Melsky

New SAG Commercial Contract

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