DGA board approves film and TV contract

The national board of the Directors Guild of America on Saturday voted in favor of a new three-year film and TV contract that includes proposed increases in wages, residuals and significant new pay terms for work in new media.

The contract, which must be ratified by members before it takes effect, was reached Friday after three weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios.

The highlights of the new agreement include wage increases of 2.5% in the first year and 3% in the second and third years, with certain limited exceptions. Residuals will increase by the same amount except for network prime-time shows, which will increase by 2% in each year.

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The contract, which covers the DGA's 15,000 members, also would increase employer contributions to the union's pension plan by 0.5% in the first year and boost wages for directors on one-hour basic cable programs.

DGA Secretary-Treasurer Michael Apted, Fifth Vice President Thomas Schlamme and National Executive Director Jay Roth led the negotiations for the guild.

"We have reached an excellent deal on behalf of DGA members and the industry," Apted said in a statement.  "With significant wage gains for our members, increases in residual bases, improvements in basic cable, and advances in the efforts to increase diversity in the industry – I am proud of our fine accomplishments over the last three weeks."

Reflecting the growing clout of services such as Netflix, the pact significantly expands the DGA's reach in new media.

It establishes for the first time minimum wages, terms and conditions for original and derivative dramas made for subscription video on demand services that exceed certain minimum budget thresholds.

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For services with more than 15 million subscribers, original and derivative new media productions above a specified budget level will receive network prime-time rates and conditions. Basic cable rates will apply to lower-budget shows.

The DGA typically negotiates at least six months before its contracts are set to expire in the belief that studios are willing to make concessions in exchange for avoiding labor disruptions.

The DGA's current film and TV network and cable contracts expire June 30, the same time as the contract for the performers union SAG-AFTRA, whose leaders have signaled they will begin negotiations early next year.

The Writers Guild of America's contract expires May 1.


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Twitter: @rverrier



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