Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SAG Commercial Contract, TV/Theatrical and New Media

An official release from the Screen Actors Guild updating Commercial Coverage issues:

Important Information about The Commercials Contract


Did you know?

You may have noticed the rapidly changing pace of the industry and of technology itself. It seems like every week a commercial breakdown comes out with new terminology in it that makes you question which Screen Actors Guild contract the job falls under. In an effort to clarify some commonly used terms and how they apply to the Commercials Contract, we have chosen two areas of discussion that we, the SAG staff, get questions on every day. We hope you find them useful.

#1 WEBISODES and WEB CONTENT
The term “webisode” is used to describe content that is made for and airs specifically on the Internet. For the framework of this discussion, the terms “webisode” and “web content” will be applied specifically to commercials and ad-related content. A webisode is a one-off commercial for an advertiser or a web series created for a long term campaign. A webisode or web content for an advertiser may or may not feature a product. Ad campaigns with overtly entertainment-based content and no typical commercial message are known as “branded entertainment” or “branded content.” With branded content, an advertiser attempts to link its product or service with a wider audience by adding another creative layer to its brand marketing strategy. Sometimes the advertiser will create a microsite–a webpage separate from the advertiser’s homepage that may have a different domain name – on which to air the webisode(s), so at first there may appear to be no direct link to the advertiser. Branded content/entertainment is financed by the advertiser. Under the Commercials Contract, a webisode can be anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes in length. Any web content of significant length is evaluated by SAG staff to determine whether it falls under the Commercials Contract or the Industrial & Educational Contract. SAG has had jurisdiction over Internet commercials since 2000.

#2 MOBISODES and NEW MEDIA CONTENT
The term “mobisode” was originally coined to define television episodes that were reformatted for mobile devices/cell phones and for episodic content created specifically for mobile devices/cell phones. This term has expanded to include commercials and/or branded entertainment shown on mobile devices. Under the Commercials Contract, new media is defined as “digital, electronic, or any other type of delivery platform including, but not limited to, commercials delivered to mobile phones and other digital and electronic media. The term new media is intended to be all inclusive of digital, electronic or any other type of delivery platform, whether now known or unknown.” Please be aware that for commercials, the term new media does not apply to commercials on the Internet. A commercial that is available for viewing by using the web browser on a BlackBerry would be considered Internet use. A commercial that pops up on a cell phone via a digital network available only from a particular wireless provider (i.e., Verizon) would be considered new media use. SAG has had jurisdiction over new media commercials since 2006.

Questions? Please contact the Commercials Contract Department: Los Angeles (323) 549-6858 / New York (212) 827-1454. Nevada residents may contact Nevada Executive Director Steven Clinton at 702-419-9280 or steve.clinton@sag.org.

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