How will new new-media deals pay us as actors?

Jonathan Handel, an attorney that specializes in entertainment law, has assisted BACKSTAGE in trying to make sense of all of these new deals being made to show TV and film work we’ve all done online, for money. How do we get our share, and how much do we get?

When you get a check from SAG or AFTRA with a residual amount that makes you wonder whether or not you’ll burn up more gas getting ti the bank to cash it, it’s usually because you’re getting Internet money. It’s not much these days – and it may not be much for the near future.

During the last SAG election, there was some confusion (and some poorly conceived righteous indignation) over the way the Internet pays off in residuals. I created an explanation of the night and day differences in the amount of money an actor will get from linear (broadcast) television, versus online play (you can see that here). The amount you’re due from linear television is far greater than from the net, and will remain that way for some time. But the pendulum is swinging. Apple, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon, Netflix and a host of other sites not even contemplated, have all made what are essentially on-demand syndication deals with the major producers to show almost anything ever made. And we all, as union actors, will benefit from those sales.


We’ll get what amounts to our share of 3.5% or so of the gross paid to producers to be able to use their product. It won’t be much for now, but in the future, you may not be scoffing at the size of your Internet play checks.

Here’s the article, with all the details:

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