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AFTRA reaches new deal with congloms

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The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists — Hollywood’s second-largest performers union behind the Screen Actors Guild — announced today that it has hammered out a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new three-year primetime TV contract. Besides standard bumps in pay and benefits for AFTRA-covered shows, like Rules of Engagement, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and ‘Til Death, notable gains were made in the area of New Media. Like the WGA and DGA deals cut earlier this year, the AFTRA agreement grants the union jurisdiction for programs produced for the Internet and other New Media, and states that producers must seek the consent of AFTRA members before using clips from traditional TV shows for non-promotional uses. However, both sides acknowledged the process was cumbersome and will carve out a system in the coming weeks to help expedite the process. “It’s win-win,” says one AMPTP insider. The latter issue has been a major sticking point for both AFTRA and SAG during the current round of talks.

Like the WGA and DGA deals, no gains were made in DVD residuals.

All eyes are now on SAG and whether it can successfully agree upon a new contract when it resumes negotiations with congloms this morning. SAG entered talks with the AMPTP earlier this spring but was unable to achieve a deal before the AMPTP started talks with AFTRA on May 7. It is widely believed that AFTRA’s ability to reach an agreement on new contract terms will put more pressure on SAG to make a deal and avert another crippling strike.

“This is another groundbreaking agreement for AFTRA,” AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon said in a statement. “In addition to achieving meaningful gains in compensation and working conditions for performers, it also establishes AFTRA jurisdiction in the dynamic area of New Media, and it preserves performers’ consent for use of excerpts of traditional TV shows in New Media. This is a challenging time in the entertainment industry and this was a tough negotiation.”

The AMPTP also released a statement today: “We are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of 17 days of negotiations with AFTRA. Both AMPTP and AFTRA were challenged during these talks to find a way to fairly and sensibly tailor our industry’s New Media framework to meet the needs of actors. As a result of compromise and creativity by both parties, we reached an agreement that makes the New Media framework work for all actors.”

“This is another groundbreaking agreement for AFTRA,” AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon said in a statement. “In addition to achieving meaningful gains in compensation and working conditions for performers, it also establishes AFTRA jurisdiction in the dynamic area of New Media, and it preserves performers’ consent for use of excerpts of traditional TV shows in New Media. This is a challenging time in the entertainment industry and this was a tough negotiation.”

The AMPTP also released a statement today: “We are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of 17 days of negotiations with AFTRA. Both AMPTP and AFTRA were challenged during these talks to find a way to fairly and sensibly tailor our industry’s New Media framework to meet the needs of actors. As a result of compromise and creativity by both parties, we reached an agreement that makes the New Media framework work for all actors.”

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