How might the SAG-AFTRA Actors Strike affect advertising?
The SAG-AFTRA Actors Strike began on July 14, 2023. They joined the WGA writers, who
went on strike on May 2, 2023. Both guilds are striking against the Alliance of Motion Picture
and Television Producers (AMPTP), which cover film and TV, including streaming.
Central to the SAG-AFTRA, 160,000 members are demanding increases in pay, revising compensation for
residuals primarily on streaming, as well as the major concern of AI replacing their jobs and
Ron Currie, a striking screenwriter, sums up the mood felt by all with his statement, “I don’t
need a cut of Netflix executives’ stock compensation. What I need — what I demand — is that
they treat me and the people I love as though our lives and labor are every bit as significant as
theirs.” The strike has effectively shut down Hollywood productions as well as theatrical and TV
production in other cities.
While the contracts do not affect advertising, there could potentially potentially be a positive
impact on advertising on both TV and digital advertising in which actors would participate.
To start, more actors would be available for ads as they are not tied up on movies or TV, and
they might be able to work at more competitive rates. Smaller marketers, DRTV marketers and
others that perhaps could not afford celebrity or high priced talent could find those doors opened.
The availability of top crew is also a bonus for smaller projects.
DRTV, CTV, infomercials, direct response TV, etc. could have more ease in negotiating with
these actors. It’s could be a win-win for both the advertising/digital industries and the actors on
strike, as well as the crews and other vendors who normally service the TV and Film industry.
It also may create a more favorable climate for TV rates as many brand marketers may not want
to pay top dollar to run ads on re-runs and reality TV shows only. Thus, the lower rates could
also help performance marketers and DRTV products to achieve better ROI on TV buys.
With the thorny issues of AI and streaming royalties being complex hurdles to overcome, the
predictions are for a long strike and thus time for DRTV and other direct to consumer marketers
to take advantage when they can of wider pool or actors, more depth to crews and potentially
lower media rates. Turning lemons into lemonade is something all can get behind.