Apple, Netflix, and Amazon eye change in how actors are paid for movies

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Apple and other streaming companies are interested in shaking up the entertainment industry’s compensation model. According to Bloomberg, under the newly proposed system (which is really only an idea, at this point), talent — like actors and other production staff — would be paid based, partially, on how well the movie performs on the company’s platform. If a lot of people watch a movie, the creators would get big bonuses. If not, the payment wouldn’t be so hefty.
Bloomberg cites an internal memo and conversations with entertainment industry folks to report that Apple has been meeting with talent representatives to pitch them on the new compensation model. This new model would involve bonuses of various sizes, based on a “points system.” Those bonuses would be doled out based on several factors. Bloomberg breaks it down like this:
…the size of the bonuses will be based on three criteria: the number of people who signed up for Apple TV+ to watch, how much time they spent viewing and the cost of the program relative to the size of its audience. People with one of the top three shows could share up to $10.5 million for a season.
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According to Bloomberg, the idea behind the model is to more intimately wed performance with compensation and, ideally, incentivize better content. Right now, creators can be paid large sums of money before a feature or show is ever even made—a trend that Bloomberg says largely began with Netflix. This model was tied to the initial growth of the streaming industry when platforms were trying to win over big talent and were willing to dole out large amounts of money just to get certain actors, directors, or producers onto their sites. Now, as companies seek to cut back on costs, they’re looking to make more with less.
Other companies besides Apple, including Amazon and Netflix, are also considering similar point systems.
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Compensation from streaming services has been at the heart of recent entertainment industry squabbles. The Hollywood writer’s strike, which temporarily threw the industry into disarray last year, revolved around the controversial compensation arrangements inherent to the streaming industry. Those arrangements, which writers felt had left them in an increasingly precarious economic situation, may have been renegotiated during the strike, but writers are still said to be struggling. While change may be welcome, it’s not at all clear whether streaming companies can be trusted when it comes to the new pay models they’re proposing. These services are known for their lack of transparency and artists are frequently blindsided when a seemingly popular show is suddenly canceled on a whim.
Gizmodo reached out to Apple, Netflix, and Amazon for comment but did not receive and immediate response.
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A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.

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