AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA union approves new contracts covering commercials for TV, radio, and the Internet

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 12:10pm

In a national vote, Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists members have approved new, three-year contracts with the advertising industry to cover commercials produced for -- and repurposed for -- television, radio, and "the Internet and new media." (An example of this could be when a spot voiced or produced by SAG-AFTRA for radio is streamed online.) The new contracts go into effect immediately, retroactive to April 1, 2013, and remain in force until June 30, 2016.

According to a press release, the new contracts result in "wage increases and other payments totaling $238 million for all categories of performers, improvements in cable use fees, increases in payments for work on the Internet and new media platforms, an increase in the late payment fee, and an increase in contributions to the health and pension/retirement plans."

Read the press release here.

Shutting off ad-insertion (or streaming altogether) may be the "austerity" that costs far more down the road

Friday, September 14, 2012 - 12:55pm

So, you're a local radio broadcaster (or you head a group), and your online efforts over the past 10 years haven't done much of anything postive for your bottom line. Specifically, you feel the process of replacing your advertisers' on-air content in your streams with online-only material simply costs too much, sounds horrible, and doesn't generate the revenue to make it worth the bother.

Think you'll abandon "ad-insertion" and simply stream a pure simulcast of your on-air signal? Or perhaps shut down the stream altogether? Certainly you want to carefully consider such a move, and gather as much information and opinion as feasible to advise your decision, right?

"Traditional radio is not dead, but its future is inextricably tied to digital." That's Mike Agovino (here), who'll speak at RAIN Summit Europe in Berlin October 5. But he's COO and co-founder of Triton Digital, so what might you expect him to say?

But consider the thoughts of Radio Ink publisher Eric Rhoads, who recently called it "foolish" for radio to ignore its online streaming, and wrote, "Streaming will be your primary source of revenue" by 2016, and that "your transmitter will make up only a small percentage of your listening." (See more in RAIN here. )

Rhoads' own publication today offers an interview with SAG/AFTRA National Associate Director Mathis Dunn exploring the realities of compensation for voice talent when streaming ads produced for broadcast radio (that's here). But make sure you also read consultant Mark Ramsey's analysis of the interview, his thoughts on abandoing streaming, the assumption that ad-insertion is necessarily "clunky," and the need for a realistic business model for it (here).

"But is (simply simulcasting the on-air signal's programming and ads online) any way to serve the interests of our clients, let alone our consumers?" he asks. "Is this the way to stage radio for a future where ever-more consumption happens online and radio competes not only against Pandora and its kind, but also potentially against streaming services from Apple, Google, and Amazon? All of whom will squeeze every ounce of value creation out of technology for the benefit of advertisers and listeners alike."

That's what you, the broadcaster, need to decide. We're looking forward to getting lots more input on this very matter during the "Online Strategies for Local Broadcasters" session (more here) at RAIN Summit Dallas. This Tuesday CBS Radio/Dallas' Dan Halyburton will moderate this panel discussion, with panelists Emmis Digital VP Angie May Cook (whose WQHT/New York "Hot 97" is one of the nation's most-innovative when it comes to its new media efforts), Triton Digital's Stephanie Donovan, TargetSpot's Elizabeth Pardieu, and Dave Van Dyke of Radiate Media. 

AFTRA, AFL, SoundExchange react to SiriusXM's direct licensing plans

Friday, October 28, 2011 - 11:30am

Buzz surrounding SiriusXM's direct licensing efforts has heated up lately, with new statements from artist labor groups and SoundExchange.

In early August news broke that SiriusXM was seeking to license the sound recordings it plays directly from the copyright owners (record labels). Direct licenses would not only cut SoundExchange out, but copyright owners would not have the same legal obligation to share the royalty revenue with performers that's required under the "statutory" license created by the DMCA (RAIN coverage here).

SiriusXM

Thus, SiriusXM could reduce the fees they pay for music and the copyright owners, no longer obligated to share with performers, could keep more.

Two labor groups -- the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFL) -- have come out against the move, calling it "blatantly anti-artist." SiriusXM is trying to "lower the rates for music," the groups state (here). The Recording Academy's president/CEO Neil Portnow also sent a letter to members encouraging independent labels not to directly license with SiriusXM.

AFTRA and AFL

SoundExchange also posted a message to its website. The non-profit royalty collection agency points out that Music Reports Inc. (MRI) -- the company SiriusXM is using to try to obtain direct licensing deals -- aims to obtain licenses "at the lowest possible cost." SoundExchange openly pushes in the other direction, the post states (here).

SiriusXM currently pays 7.5% of its revenues to SoundExchange for satellite radio performance royalties (it pays additional, different royalties for its Internet radio broadcasts, more here). In 2012 the rate increases to 8% of revenues. (By comparison, pureplay webcasters like Pandora pay the greater of 25% of total revenues or, in 2011, $0.00102 per listener, per song; more here). Such rates are set by the Copyright Royalty Board.

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