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Actors Ratify New Deal: Hollywood is Open for Business!

Members of the SAG-AFTRA actors union approved a three-year contract with top Hollywood studios on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. The ratification puts the final touches on an agreement that was finally reached between both sides on November 8, 2023. Meanwhile, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) ratified its own three-year contract with major studios on October 9, 2023. The landmark agreements put an end to the longest combined labour dispute in Hollywood in over half a century.

Reports of the agreement in early November drew enthusiasm from both sides, but the ratification did meet with some pushback. The final vote tally showed that 78% of SAG-AFTRA members voted to approve the deal. According to reports, the deal will bring an immediate 11% wage increase for background actors and a 7% wage increase for others.

The use of artificial intelligence was a major sticking point during the negotiations. This new deal will see guardrails installed. For example, studios will not be able to create a digital replica of an actor without first obtaining their consent. Moreover, actors will receive compensation depending on what kind of replica is used. The contract will also provide AI protections for background performers.

This ratification is good news for entertainment giants like Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Netflix (NYSE:NFLX). Studios and streaming platforms had elected to delay or more slowly release new content with the freeze on production. Actors and writers will now get back to work, and studios will work hard to get backlogged content produced and onto our screens.