The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has approved a new influencer agreement to cover influencer-generated branded content.
The new SAG-AFTRA influencer agreement extends coverage beyond YouTubers to include audio and video published to other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitch and TikTok.
Under the scheme, union members will now be eligible for benefits such as healthcare and pension contributions.
“Making it easier to cover this type of work has been a top priority for our organization. I want to commend the efforts of our staff in creating an agreement that will benefit SAG-AFTRA’s current members as well as allowing all creators an opportunity to join the union. As new ways of storytelling emerge, it’s imperative that we embrace and lift up these artists,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris in a press release announcing the agreement.
Creators have increasingly sought to professionalise and to protect themselves. In the last 12 months, marketer turned content creator, Nicole Ocran, formed The Creator Union to establish fair pay, secure contracts and raise industry standards in the UK.
From a marketer’s point-of-view a union’s presence could add cost and procedure to influencer marketing making working with social media talent less straightforward.
Contributions to an influencer’s pension and healthcare stand at around 19% currently for SAG-AFTRA members. These are payable in addition to the talent fee.
Often UK agencies need to engage a third party processor to facilitate payment, and non-SAG-AFTRA signatory agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to work with SAG-AFTRA talent according to law firm Lewis Silkin.
Influencer marketing is dynamic; no set-and-forget discipline. The SAG-AFTRA influencer agreement is a timely reminder of the importance of regularly reviewing processes, procedures and practices when engaging influencers. Successful influencer marketing is founded on mutual benefit between sponsoring brand and creator talent. This means practices should always be fair and consistent.
In 2018 I mooted the idea of influencers unionising in an article titled: Influencer marketing backlash: 15 ways to reverse the trend suggesting influencers look to established unions such as Equity, SAG-AFTRA or even the National Union of Journalists.