SAG, Studios Reach Agreement on Basic Cable and Animation

The deals are similar to the TV/theatrical agreement reached last week.

SAG announced today that it reached tentative three-year agreements on basic cable live action, basic cable animation and television animation productions.

The agreements are similar to the TV/theatrical agreement reached last week. Notably, there was no increase in live action basic cable residuals. The agreements commence July 1, 2011, upon expiration of the existing agreements.

As with the TV/theatrical agreements, the basic cable and animation agreements feature 2% annual wage increases. That figure has become the new normal in Hollywood, as it also mirrors the increases received by Teamsters Local 399 in negotiations over the summer.

The agreements also include a one-time 1.5% increase in employers’ pension and health contributions, as did the TV/theatrical agreements. This is far higher than the usual 0.5% increase.

Details of the new agreements will be submitted for approval to the National Board of Screen Actors Guild. Member ratification is not required, unlike the TV/theatrical agreements.

The lack of increase in basic cable residual rates, which are far lower than broadcast residuals, is probably due to the fact that AFTRA’s basic cable residual rates are no higher than SAG’s. An increase in this area would have made SAG more expensive, which could drive work to AFTRA.

The new basic cable agreements are not formally with the AMPTP (the broadcast TV animation deal is), but are with the companies individually. Also, AFTRA did not participate in the negotiations, and never does. Rather, AFTRA “promulgates” four different basic cable agreements (one of which is similar to SAG’s), and negotiates variations from those templates on a project-by-project basis.