Netflix is hiring a new residuals expert following a round of union contract negotiations that saw significant changes to the way streamers compensate above-the-line talent for reuse.
The job posting states that the main function for the new financial analyst, residuals, role will be “interpreting and analyzing residual impact in accordance with various guilds, unions and production service agreements and execut[ing] accordingly.” The hire, whose potential salary ranges widely, from $60,000 to $290,000, will also be “calculating, preparing and processing residual payments, preparing and managing financial forecasting of residual obligations, and working closely with cross-functional teams like Labor, Production Finance, and Business Affairs to determine the residuals impact across various titles.” The job is based in Los Angeles.
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Residuals refer to supplementary payments to talent that are incurred when a title is re-used on a platform, such as when a network comedy is re-run after its initial premiere or when a film lands on a streamer after a theatrical release.
Hollywood’s 2023 round of union contract negotiations transformed the way streamers like Netflix pay major talent for re-use, especially when one of their projects is successful. The contract that ended the Writers Guild of America’s 148-day strike in 2023, for instance, instituted a new success-based residual for writers on high-budget streaming TV series and films: Under the provision, scribes receive a bonus payment (50 percent of their existing fixed residual) if their made-for-streaming project is watched by more than 20 percent of domestic subscribers in the first 90 days it is on the service. This payment is being disbursed in addition to the union’s existing fixed residual for streaming projects, and it went into effect on Jan. 1.
Actors’ union SAG-AFTRA, meanwhile, secured a different kind of additional residual for streaming projects. Under the terms of its new “streaming participation bonus” — part of the pact that ended the 118-day actors’ strike in 2023 — a bonus is triggered if an original, high-budget film or TV series is watched by more than 20 percent of U.S. subscribers in the first 90 days of release. In contrast with the WGA, however, the actors obtained a payment that is double the project’s fixed residual, which is funneled into a distribution fund overseen by representatives of both management and the union. This fund will disburse 75 percent of individual bonus payments to the actors on these successful streaming projects, while 25 percent will go to other performers on streaming titles (the terms of this latter part of the fund have not yet been announced).
The WGA, SAG-AFTRA and directors’ union the Directors Guild of America also won increases to their usual fixed streaming residuals during the 2023 negotiations. The DGA’s residual for one-hour streaming series on the largest streaming platforms, for example, increased by 21 percent in the first three years of use, and its foreign residual has jumped by 76 percent. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA also improved on their streaming residuals for foreign re-use.
And more changes to streamers’ residual payouts may be coming. This year, Netflix will join the rest of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in negotiating with crew union IATSE and the Teamsters Local 399 — where residuals are sure to again be on the table.
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