In a major boost to the basic agreement the Directors Guild of America (DGA) negotiated with the AMPTP last summer, directors will now get the same streaming-success bonus the writers spent months on strike fighting for.
DGA National Executive Director Russell Hollander announced to members on January 25 new changes to the basic agreement, which directors ratified back on June 23, 2023. The most notable is access to the SVOD performance bonus, as well as the same data transparency the writers got. In that deal, the writers get bonuses equal to 50 percent of the existing fixed residual for streaming — if at least 20 percent of a streaming platform’s U.S. users watch a new original film or TV series within its first 90 days.
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Essentially, the provision rewards the shows and movies that bring the most value to a streaming service. It can make the payouts more comparable to the added residuals and benefits one gets from a successful broadcast show that makes it to reruns or syndication.
The DGA reached a deal with the AMPTP before the writers did, much to the chagrin of some writer-directors who wish the DGA held out for more. But now the directors’ benefits through 2026 will be largely consistent with the writers’.
The provision is effective as of January 1, 2024.
The streaming-performance bonus wasn’t the only improvement to the directors deal, which some members would argue was already pretty good. They’ll now get an additional increase toward pension and health care in 2025 and 2026, and directors of dramatic pay TV and high-budget SVOD programs will receive the same general wage increases as other directors. Plus, assistant directors, associate directors, and unit production managers won’t see reduced rates for working on pilots or the first two seasons of new shows. And the daily production fee for associate directors and stage managers working on non-primetime entertainment programs no longer have a weekly cap.
The bonus negotiated by SAG-AFTRA is also slightly different than what the writers agreed to, as it splits money between performers on the top streaming shows and a fund that’s divided between everyone else working on streaming — a “streaming participation bonus.”
The DGA’s contract extends into 2026. The AMPTP will soon be negotiating with IATSE and with the Teamsters, who hope to get similar perks.
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