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Thursday, October 20, 2016


Interactive Video Game Companies made a final offer to video game performers that included an immediate 9 percent wage hike if SAG-AFTRA union members ratify the offer by Dec. 1 as part of a Comprehensive Revised and Enhanced Final Package Proposal for a new three year contract. But the union is still scheduled to strike on Friday.
The Companies and SAG-AFTRA brought in a Federal Mediator Wednesday. "We had hoped this would be successful, but union leadership left mediation without providing a counteroffer. We urged union leaders to put the package to a vote of their membership, but union leaders refused," said Scott J. Witlin of the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg, the chief negotiator for the Companies.
The Companies' offer of an immediate 9 percent raise accelerates the 3 percent annual increase sought by SAG-AFTRA negotiators over a three-year period.
As an added component, the Companies also offered Additional Compensation to performers of up to $950 per game based upon the number of sessions a performer works on a particular game. This, too, is conditioned upon a Dec. 1 ratification by SAG-AFTRA members. Together with the wage hike, this package could increase overall compensation by up to 23 percent for typical sessions, and in some cases more.
"We improved our offer to demonstrate our willingness to reach a fair, mutually-beneficial agreement after 18 months of negotiations," Witlin added.
"We value our performers and their dedication," Witlin said. "The union has demanded a contingency fee based upon number of games sold or subscribers. Instead of that, we are offering to immediately reward the hard work of performers through this accelerated raise and Additional Compensation package."
In summary, if ratified by Dec. 1, the Comprehensive Revised and Enhanced Final Package Proposal would bring the typical 4-hour voice over session and on-camera day rate to $900 as well as providing the Additional Compensation of up to $950 per game depending upon the number of sessions worked.
SAG-AFTRA unilaterally announced on Sunday that it will begin a strike on Friday, Oct. 21. The Video Game Companies said they hoped an agreement would be reached, but want fans to know that the majority of upcoming games already in production will be unaffected by any SAG-AFTRA strike due to the nature of the "No Strike Provisions" of the collective bargaining agreement.
The parties largely reached agreement on other outstanding issues including vocal stress and stunt coordination and have made substantial progress on transparency, he said. "We appreciate the hard work SAG-AFTRA has put into studying workplace safety and vocal stress," Witlin added.
"We look forward to working with the performers and SAG-AFTRA to continue to explore ways to further enhance the working environment," he said. "Many of the Companies and people on our committee are the best evangelists for the use of SAG-AFTRA members in this industry. We hope SAG-AFTRA does not precipitously rush into a strike that will immediately and directly take money out of their members' pockets."




Tuesday, October 18, 2016


- CBS has ordered CANDY CRUSH, a new one-hour, live action game show series based on the globally renowned mobile game franchise. CBS, Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF) and King will join together on the new format created and executive produced by Matt Kunitz that will be distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by Lionsgate. 
In the game Candy Crush Saga, players match colorful candies in combinations of three or more to win Candy Crush Saga and its sister title, Candy Crush Soda Saga, are two of the top 10 grossing mobile games in the U.S. On average, 18 billion game rounds are played every month around the world.*
points, defeat obstacles and progress through more than 2,000 levels.
In the series, the game that has become a worldwide phenomenon comes to life as teams of two people use their wits and physical agility to compete on enormous, interactive game boards featuring next generation technology to conquer CANDY CRUSH and be crowned the champions. A host will be announced at a later date.
"We are huge fans of Candy Crush and, like so many others, we know the 'rush' of advancing to the next level of the game," said Glenn Geller, President, CBS Entertainment.  "We're excited to work with Lionsgate and King to adapt one of the world's most popular and entertaining game franchises for television and make it available to its massive, passionate fan base who can watch and play along at home."
"The Candy Crush franchise is a world-renowned property, so when the head of our interactive and games division, Peter Levin, brought this IP to Lionsgate, we instantly knew it would make an incredibly visual, physical and fun TV program," said Kevin Beggs, Chairman, Lionsgate Television Group. "CBS is a leader in unscripted television, which makes it the ideal home for CANDY CRUSH, and we're very happy to have Matt shepherding the production as we partner with the team at King on this series with the tremendous second-screen potential."
"We have a very entrepreneurial culture at Lionsgate, so we look for awesome worldwide IP like Candy Crush and work together across divisions to bring it to fans on every platform possible. Everyone who has played it knows that Candy Crush is an exciting, visual switcher game with great characters, and Matt and our alternative television team are working closely with Sebastian Knutsson and his creative team at King to bring it to life on CBS," said Peter Levin, President, Interactive Ventures and Games for Lionsgate, and executive producer on the series. Levin worked with Striker Entertainment's Russell Binder, King's licensing agent in the U.S., to facilitate licensing Candy Crush IP for this television show.
"The Candy Crush franchise lends itself perfectly to the kind of larger-than-life, physical game shows that I love to produce and CBS is the perfect home for it," said executive producer Matt Kunitz ("Wipeout," "Fear Factor"). "As a Candy Crush Saga player myself, I am excited to amp up the action and visuals in our huge Candy Crush Arena."
"The Candy Crush franchise has been loved by players around the world on mobile so it's very exciting to be working with Matt and the team to bring the fun and challenge of theCandy Crush games to television. We hope our players will be entertained by what is set to be a high-energy, challenging game show," said Sebastian Knutsson, Chief Creative Officer, King, and executive producer of CANDY CRUSH.
CANDY CRUSH will be produced by Pulse Creative in association with Lionsgate Television, King Ltd. and CBS Television Studios. Matt KunitzPeter LevinRussell BinderNicki Sheard, VP Brand at King, and Sebastian Knutsson will serve as executive producers.  Knutsson is King's Chief Creative Officer and is one of the founders of the company.  He created Candy Crush Saga.
*Candy Crush Saga average monthly game rounds as of Sept. 2016.