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SAG-AFTRA actor union members demonstrate outside Netflix studios, in Los Angeles, on Oct. 24, 2023.

Kayo Goto / The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters Connect

Deal struck for digital Hollywood

Members of SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors in Hollywood, approved a deal with the major movie and television studios late last week. A main sticking point in the monthslong strike against the studios was artificial intelligence – particularly how the studios can use actors’ images in concert with AI technology.
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People celebrate after the SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Committee approved a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to bring an end to the 118-day actors' strike, at a brewery in Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 8, 2023.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Aaaand … scene! The actors strike is over

After 118 days, the longest actors’ walkout in Hollywood history ended Wednesday night, as the SAG-AFTRA union reached a tentative agreement with studios.

The deal, which reflects the pressures of Hollywood’s rapidly changing financial and technological landscape, gets actors better compensation from the streaming services that dominate the industry now, more generous healthcare funding, and better protections against studios using artificial intelligence to create actors’ likenesses without consent or compensation.

For now, the agreement means Hollywood can get back up and running on all cylinders. The actors strike — coupled with the 148-day writers strike that ended last month — had crippled the $140 billion American film and TV industry, putting nearly 200 shows on ice and reportedly costing the economy of California some $5 billion.

Experts say the pressures of the streaming landscape and new technologies like AI mean that in the long run, there could be far fewer jobs for writers and actors in Hollywood. But that’s the storyline for the NEXT season of your favorite shows. For now, we're just happy that world leaders won't have to cross the picket lines themselves anymore — Kim Jong-un's remake of "Titanic" was truly one of the worst things we've ever seen ...

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