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DGA members ratify AMPTP deal, SAG says its own talks are ‘extremely productive’

Members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) have voted to ratify a new three-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Jon Avnet (photo: Art Directors Guild via CC)

Around 41% of the guild’s membership (6,728) voted on the agreement, with 87% in favour and 13% against. The guild said the turnout exceeded any previous ratification vote.

For the DGA, negotiations were led by negotiations committee chair Jon Avnet, co-chairs Karen Gaviola and Todd Holland and DGA national executive director Russell Hollander, while television creative rights negotiations were led by Thomas Schlamme and Nicole Kassell.

The DGA and AMPTP began talks on May 10 and concluded on June 3, with the DGA’s leadership agreeing to the deal before having its membership vote to ratify it.

The new contract will see increases to wages including a 5% rise in the first year of the contract, 4% in the second and 3.5% in the third; an agreement confirming that artificial intelligence “is not a person and that generative AI cannot replace the duties performed by members”; and a “substantial increase” in the residuals for dramatic programmes made for SVoD that includes a new structure for foreign residuals.

The latter update means that, for the first time, global SVoD residuals will be paid based on the number of international subscribers, rather than those just in the US. That will result in a “76% increase in foreign residuals for the largest platforms so that residuals for a one-hour episode will now be roughly US$90,000 for the first three exhibition years,” the DGA said previously.

The ratification of the deal comes with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) about to enter its eighth week of striking.

Despite the DGA reaching a deal with AMPTP, the WGA has said its resolve to get a fairer deal is stronger than ever.

During the previous strike, the DGA agreed a deal with the AMPTP while the WGA was in its 11th week of striking, which helped to force the WGA’s hand. It came to an agreement less than four weeks later.

Many in Hollywood have predicted that actors’ guild SAG-AFTRA will also go on strike on June 30. Such a move would shutter production almost entirely and potentially put the AMPTP in a position where it may be forced to return to the bargaining table with the WGA.

However, on Saturday, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a video to members that talks with the AMPTP had been “extremely productive” and that they were “optimistic” a deal could be reached.

This was the first update from its leadership since SAG-AFTRA began talks with the AMPTP on June 7.

The video spooked some WGA members, who took to Twitter to express concern that SAG-AFTRA might reach a deal with the studios ahead of the June 30 deadline.

Should SAG-AFTRA reach an agreement, it would significantly weaken the WGA’s position and leave it as the sole holdout in negotiations with the AMPTP.

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