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What’s New in the SAG-AFTRA 2016 TV and Audio Commercials Contracts?

Every three years SAG-AFTRA negotiates new Commercials Contracts with the advertising industry, which is represented by the Joint Policy Committee (JPC). These contracts determine the payments for talent involved in commercials for television, radio and online use. The new provisions of the SAG-AFTRA 2016 TV and Audio (formerly Radio) Commercials Contracts were released by both the Union and the JPC on April 13 and are available on their websites.

Our brief review of the new terms and conditions indicates that there have been several significant changes in Internet and New Media provisions, including a revision of the definition of a commercial, creation of four week cycles for internet, and a new waiver for commercials made for social media.

Experimental Waivers, which were first negotiated in 2013 for Live Events, Man-on-the-Street and Hidden Camera commercials, have been renewed and have been extended to commercials made for broadcast use, as well as to those made for use on the Internet. This means that any “real people” who qualify under the waiver are not required, under the contract, to be paid on a union scale.

Rates (including allowances, etc) have been increased by 7% across-the-board with a few exceptions. Class A use will increase by 2% in addition to the general increase. Cable use will increase by 6% in addition to the general increase. P&H/H&R (Pension and Health / Health and Retirement) contributions are now at 18%, up from 16.8% in the last contract.

There are many other new and revised provisions to be reviewed. The JPC is, of course, planning Town Hall meetings to explain these negotiated changes in detail and to answer any questions that may arise. Extreme Reach will post additional information as it becomes available.

As usual, increases in payments and P&H contributions due for commercials made or integrated after April 1 will be retroactive to April 1, so advertisers and agencies should be sure to make allowances for these increases in their budgets. Once Union membership ratifies the Contracts and the Union and JPC agree upon and publish new rate tables, we will share that information here.