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SAG members earn more in movies and commercials, less in TV

August 16, 2011 |  2:52 pm

Screen Actors Guild members were better off last year than in 2009, reporting overall higher earnings thanks to increases in movies and commercials, even as they reported less income from work on television shows, according to a guild survey.

SAG members reported $589 million in movie-related earnings, up 8% from the prior year. Earnings from commercials jumped 13% to $818 million, according to the Screen Actors Guild survey.

The higher earnings "reflect a rebound in production levels from the downturn of 2008-2009," Ray Rodriguez, deputy national executive director for contracts, said in a statement published in the union's magazine, where the findings were reported. Rodriguez also attributed the higher commercials earnings to contract gains negotiated in 2009.

TV earnings for SAG members, however, continued to slide, falling 8% last year to $565 million. TV earnings have fallen 24% since 2007, when SAG members reported income of $746 million.

SAG officials attributed the decline to a "loss of coverage." SAG, which once dominated prime-time TV, has ceded significant ground to its smaller sister union, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, in recent years, in part because of the perception among networks and studios that the union was more stable and easier to deal with. SAG's loss of market share in prime-time television has helped to fuel a movement to merge the two unions, which has gathered steam this year.


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AFTRA board gives two thumbs up on merger talks

Actors unions' board approves new film and TV contract

-- Richard Verrier