Summer 2018

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Page 14 of 57 | Summer 2018 | SAG-AFTRA 13 D AV I D W H I T E A Letter from the National Executive Director "We must relentlessly pursue the changes we need to make using the same resources available to support our daily work." The Business Revolution: You may have noticed the recent corporate mergers that have taken place in our industry and that have been widely covered in the press. AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner. Disney has successfully won the battle to acquire 21st Century Fox's primary entertainment assets. Viacom and CBS continue to circle each other in a drama that may lead to another megamerger. These moves reflect an effort by traditional players in the entertainment industry to keep pace with the new, super-sized tech companies that have now entered the content creation arena: FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google/YouTube). These mergers appear to be moving toward a future in which consumers will be presented with multiple "closed content ecosystems" in the entertainment industry, where we either pay fees or watch advertising (or both) in exchange for access to the company's unique content. The term "closed" is relative here: While companies may continue to share some content (we may still be able to watch a Warner Bros. movie on Netflix, for example), the exclusive, original content available only on each platform will be the main draw for new subscribers to that company's network. These subscribers are valuable for audience growth, but even more for exploitation across the diverse business lines of each behemoth company. For example, we all know that Amazon Prime members get access to various film and TV products, but the real goal is to gain more customers to purchase products through Amazon's shopping portal. It seems likely that, while AT&T wants to increase HBO subscribers to grow HBO's audience, the company is also keen to gain more customers for its phone, internet and other services. By finding ways to monetize each additional consumer attracted by entertainment content, these mega- companies can grow their other lines of business. Done effectively, this cycle feeds a great moneymaking flywheel, one that demands more and more consumers. And that affects you. This will absolutely affect the type of TV and film projects that companies will choose to finance and the production environment in which our members work. And it will directly affect SAG-AFTRA's operations. How? I invite you to continue this discussion with me in my next letter. In solidarity and looking forward, David White Dear Member, A n entrepreneurial mindset. At our national convention last fall, one theme ran through the speeches and presentations delivered to attending members, and that was the need for our organization to adapt to the revolutionary shifts occurring all around us, to become more entrepreneurial. Unlike large corporations, unions are unable to issue shares of stock or borrow huge sums of money from banks in order to make fast changes to our operational models. Unions have to do it the old-fashioned way. We must relentlessly pursue the changes we need to make using the same resources available to support our daily work. It is a little like "repairing the airplane mid- flight," as the saying goes. While this is always difficult, we have no choice but to rise to this challenge. Unless we adopt that mindset, we risk sleeping through the revolution that is now upon us. What do I mean by "revolution"? I'd thought you'd never ask! There are at least three major shifts that I intend to discuss with you over the next several magazine letters: the business revolution, the regulatory revolution and the "NextGen" talent revolution. Each of these areas, broadly defined, will have a profound impact on the way in which SAG-AFTRA — and many of our sister unions — must evolve.

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