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Netflix and SAG-AFTRA sign contract that includes dubbing work

Netflix
The agreement between Netflix and SAG-AFTRA covers dubbing work on Netflix’s foreign-language live-action and animated films dubbed into English.
(Netflix)

Netflix took another step to bolster its Hollywood credentials, signing a historic agreement with the union that represents Hollywood actors and other performers.

Netflix and SAG-AFTRA announced Saturday they had reached an agreement that would expand the scope of workers covered under their contract to include people involved in dubbing foreign-language films into English and performance capture work.

The three-year agreement, in addition, applies minimum salary and turnaround provisions for all Netflix programs and provides Netflix more flexibility in scheduling day performers and guest stars on episodic series. It also improves theatrical residual payments for SAG-AFTRA members (the fees paid when movies are rerun) on higher-budgeted Netflix films.

The pact is the first of its kind between the actors union and the streaming giant, which had previously followed terms of the union’s main network code contract but did not have an overall agreement with SAG-AFTRA. Netflix is not a member of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a trade group that negotiates on behalf of the major studios and production companies.

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“We are always looking to adapt and grow within the changing environment of our industry,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. “This groundbreaking agreement speaks to that.”

Netflix has been increasing the number of programs in foreign languages as the company seeks to expand its global audience in countries such as India. Earlier this week, Netflix reported the number of its U.S. subscribers plunged by 130,000 customers, a major decline not seen since 2011.

The push to gain more global audiences comes at a time when Netflix is gearing up to face major streaming competitors, including Disney, Apple and WarnerMedia’s streaming platforms, which will launch in the next year.

Netflix, one of the biggest office tenants in Los Angeles, has been working to build closer ties to Hollywood. The Los Gatos company is seeking to buy the Egyptian Theatre from American Cinematheque as a way of endearing itself to filmmakers. Earlier this year, Netflix joined the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

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“We are pleased that we were able to work with SAG-AFTRA to address these issues unique to Netflix’s production needs and we commend SAG-AFTRA leadership for its creative approach,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

The deal was approved on Saturday by SAG-AFTRA’s national board. It expires on June 30, 2022.

In other matters, the board also announced the union would implement guidelines for intimacy coordinators. The guidelines will seek to establish relevant policies for nudity and simulated sex, define the duties and standards of intimacy coordinators on productions, and specify training, vetting and qualifications for them, the union said.

Demand for intimacy coordinators has grown following complaints from some actors over how intimate scenes are handled on set.


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