Actors, Advertisers Reach Accord

NEW YORK The actors unions and representatives of major national advertisers said they have reached a tentative agreement that extends their contract for two more years.

The pact, which is set to run through 2008, is significant because it governs $2 billion worth of advertising in which actors appear. The agreement has also come early—the two sides expected to finish hashing out the new contract in October.

The deal, if approved by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild, would give performers a 6 percent pay raise, and the contract would cover all electronic and emerging media.

On the latter issue, which had been a major point of contention, the two sides agreed to employ a consultant to study new forms of Internet and mobile media and report back on ways of compensating actors for their appearances.

The actors’ position, at least going into the talks, was that performers should get paid extra for appearing in such media, just as they do for TV commercials (where they receive a fee per each airing).

Advertisers, conversely, maintained that as the audiences for traditional media dwindle, actors are not actually reaching any more eyeballs—just the same eyeballs through different vehicles. On that basis, the advertisers initially argued, they should not have to pay actors extra to reach the same people.

The results of the joint study will inform future contract negotiations, the two sides said.

In addition, a committee will be formed by the unions and the advertisers, which will “make adjustments to the agreement to accommodate changing technologies and shifting paradigms within the commercials industry,” the unions said in a statement.