SAG-AFTRA Agreement Falls Short associated with Solving Pay, Benefits Distance for Influencers

April 23, 2021 7 minutes read

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Much ado had been made about the new Influencer Agreement announced by the Screen Actors Guild plus American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) last month. I actually shared a quick reaction opinion that it was the step in the right direction to further legitimize the entrepreneurial category we all broadly call influencer marketing and advertising.  

Yet upon further review, the particular agreement is really simply a Band-Aid for current SAG-AFTRA members and never really inclusive of influencers exactly who aren’t already actors or performers.

What the agreement breaks down in order to is that anyone who works on camera or behind the microphone — hence qualifying like a screen, television or radio artist — can now file that contract to count towards work under SAG-AFTRA suggestions. That qualification, and the fees paid to SAG-AFTRA that will are typically a percent from the influencer’s fee, adds to the individual’s pension and healthcare-benefits qualification.

SAG-AFTRA fees are usually often paid by the agency or brand on top of an actor’s fee, and in most cases SAG-AFTRA members don’t work unless the union’s fees are accounted for. The big hiccup that forced SAG-AFTRA’s hand on this particular influencer agreement comes down to watching out for its members, not offering benefits to others.

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What SAG-AFTRA members needed

The core problem behind the move is the blurred lines in between the channels screen actors and radio/TV performers generally make money from, plus the new highway of opportunity in . If a brand engages an professional for a television commercial, they pay union costs for your talent, but whenever the brand wants in order to engage the actor with regard to a video on their or her social media channels, that’s not a traditional “screen actor’s” delivery, so they refuse to pay union fees meant for the work.

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There was also simply no check box within the submitting form for an actor to file social press work as qualified functionality work for their marriage card. So, SAG-AFTRA walked in and now has a policy that interpersonal media work does be eligible under the union and fees should be compensated and accounted for.  

The new Influencer Agreement covers efficiency work (on-camera or sound recording) published on possibly the individual’s social media nourishes or those of the brand or client. As of this writing, it doesn’t qualify if the work is done within collaboration with other influencers. It can only become the single performer.  

What SAG-AFTRA does for influencers

The good news for non-SAG-AFTRA members is that if they earn a good amount of money from videos (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram Stories) or tone of voice work (e. g. pod-casts or  in an entire world where Clubhouse moderating will pay well), they can now utilize for union membership and pay in to receive healthcare and pension benefits. No real union is present for this type of content creator, so the particular opening is a relevant one and a required relief for many making their livelihoods on social media.

Whilst the current Influencer Contract has its holes, SAG-AFTRA officials told me repeatedly that it was a good 1st step. The union says there are continuing discussions about expanding this initial offering to solve for your larger industry problem.

What SAG-AFTRA does not do for influencers

For all the hype and even potential for good, the agreement falls way in short supply of being much benefit to the influencer marketing world. The problem isn’t, however, an inability in SAG-AFTRA’s vision. The failure is that influencers are not defined singularly. A artist, the general qualification of a SAG-AFTRA member, can be one fraction of the particular role that an changer plays. They may be on-camera or even behind the microphone, yet they’re often also the writer, set designer, movie director, producer, photographer, graphic designer, video editor, makeup designer and stylist for the intended work.  

“The way that will the [influencer] industry works is therefore vast and complex outdoors of the way the particular entertainment industry works that it doesn’t feel like there is a true understanding of how to support it, ”  Patrick Janelle, the personality behind @aguynamedpatrick plus founder of influencer marketing talent agency Untitled Secret , told me recently. “There a variety of ways that influencers require to be supported, but one kind of small, specific way that influencers can be supported through SAG is not actually helping the industry inside a significant way. ” 

When I requested union staffers why the particular agreement didn’t cover every of what influencers do, the answer was quite simple: Their union doesn’t cover that kind of work. They would be stepping at the toes associated with other unions, which I think we can most agree would be more trouble than progress.

Janelle is also the chairman of the Board of Company directors of the American Changer Council   (AIC), a trade organization (but not union) for influencers. He says the Changer Agreement from SAG-AFTRA furthermore does not address one associated with the more pressing problems an union should assist with which is compensation specifications.  

“That’s something an union typically does, ” he mentioned.    

Janelle recognized the move was a positive step ahead for influencers, and mentioned the AIC is engaged in ongoing conversations along with SAG-AFTRA to widen its understanding of, and possibly representation for, the changer industry.   But the problems continue to exist.  

What the influencer advertising industry really needs

The SAG-AFTRA model is, frankly, one that would do the influencer marketing industry good. It requires a creator-first organization — yes, an union — to ensure the business owners who earn their residing creating engaging content upon social media channels possess protections, resources and benefits. And as the SAG-AFTRA agreement underlines, no marriage exists that can rightfully cover all the different aspects of what an influencer profession entails. Influencers are a new breed of professional with requirements other unions cannot satisfy.

Imagine presently there was an influencer’s marriage — one that protected all aspects of being a digital content inventor, not just on-camera or microphone work. An influencer could join and spend dues to carry a good Influencer Union Card. Any kind of engagement with a customer would include a 10-20%  fee to be paid in order to the union.  

The union could survey its members in order to set common pricing standards for various types of work with a scalable fee for various dimensions of a given influencer’s audience and/or engagement rates.   Those content creators who didn’t want in order to join  wouldn’t have in order to, and brands could elect to use non-union makers and influencers if they wished. But those high-quality producers making a profession out of it will be more apt to sign up for the union for the benefits it offers, so brands would often want to use union talent.  

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If anything, SAG-AFTRA has opened the doorway to some content makers, though most of these who will benefit are their current members. You can’t fault them just for looking out for their particular own first. And we need to give them a jerk to taking a stage, even though it’s a baby one, toward making the particular entrepreneurial avenue of online more practical.  

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