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Web Ads Stall Strike Talks

(The Hollywood Reporter) The chief negotiators for the striking actors unions said Tuesday that commercials made for the Internet remain a key stumbling block to an agreement that would end the 5-month-old strike against the advertising industry. Numerous industry observers, however, said the unions are prolonging an already too-long strike over an unproved technology that might never produce much income for actors.

In a joint statement on the status of the commercials strike, Screen Actors Guild chief negotiator John McGuire and American Federation of Television & Radio Artists chief negotiator Mathis Dunn said, "The areas of disagreement remain familiar, but a new and troubling perspective has now come to the forefront -- the very jurisdictional recognition of SAG and AFTRA with respect to commercials made for the Internet."

A strike that had once been about the threat of rollbacks has now become a strike over union jurisdiction in cyberspace. "SAG is now on strike over their own agenda," a longtime industry observer said. "We'll see how much enthusiasm people have for this. I would think that some people's enthusiasm will wane considerably."

Based on industry estimates, the strike is costing union actors more than $10 million a week. Even if the unions finally prevail and win jurisdiction over Internet commercials, it might be years before actors who work on Internet commercials will recoup even a single week's losses.

"I don't think our clients have done any spots just for the Internet that I know about," the head of the commercials department at a large talent agency said. "It's so sad. They are never going to make up their lost revenue -- ever." An ad industry source said, "We are mystified that they would keep 135,000 people on strike over work that nobody is performing at this time."


, ADWEEK Online. October 4, 2000

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