Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav opened the company’s quarterly earnings presentation with remarks on the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, remaining “hopeful” that the work stoppage will end “soon” following the Hollywood studios’ move to adjust AI language in its “last, best and final offer” to the actors union.
“We are hopeful we will reach a resolution to the SAG-AFTRA strike soon,” Zaslav said during WBD’s third-quarter earnings call Wednesday. “We made a last and final offer, which met virtually all of the union’s goals and includes the highest wage increase in 40 years and believe it provides for a positive outcome for all involved. We recognize that we need our creative partners to feel valued and rewarded and look forward to both sides getting back to the business of telling great stories. As the strikes underscore, these are challenging times our industry is facing accelerated disruption in a rapidly changing marketplace. And to succeed long term, we must be flexible and adaptable and have a strong arsenal of assets that will enable us to maintain momentum amidst ever evolving consumer behavior.”
Union negotiators met Monday night with the leaders of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. In the meeting, the two sides appear to have resolved some of the pending issues on AI, which has become the central focus of the talks over the last week.
SAG-AFTRA leaders went into a meeting in the early afternoon Tuesday with the union’s negotiating committee. The hope is that the latest movement on AI will be enough to seal the deal.
At 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the committee informed members that it had met for 10 hours, and would continue to talk on Wednesday. The committee also indicated that its deliberations are nearing an end.
The deal includes a sizable bump in minimum rates, which the studios have characterized as the largest increase in 40 years. It’s expected to be in the 7%-8% range in most cases — less than the 11% that SAG-AFTRA sought but higher than the 5% that the AMPTP agreed to in deals with the writers and directors unions.
More to come…