Actor Seth Rogen has a new series coming to streaming platform Apple TV+ in May. Despite his existing relationship with the Apple Inc AAPL-owned streaming platform, Rogen didn’t hold back in his comments about the salaries of the streaming company’s executives and secretive viewership figures.
What Happened: Rogen and his co-stars of the upcoming Apple TV+ series “Platonic” celebrated the premiere of the series ahead of its May 24 release. Still, the cast was quick to highlight the ongoing writers’ strike, which began on May 1.
“I’m personally distressed by not having any sense of how successful these shows and movies we make for streaming services are,” Rogen said, as reported by Variety. “The secretiveness only makes me think that they’re making way more money off of all of us than they want to share with anybody.”
Many streaming platforms don’t disclose viewership figures, including Apple. Streaming giant Netflix Inc NFLX, for example, highlights its top 10 shows and movies each week, along with the number of minutes watched.
“These executives are making insane salaries that you would only make if you are running an incredibly profitable business,” Rogen said. “Thank God for these labor unions and their ability to force these gigantic corporations who banded together to drive down the wages of workers to actually do something every once in a while and act fairly and equitably.”
“Platonic” co-star Rose Byrne, whose series “Physical” is also on Apple TV+, chimed in.
“It’s long overdue to reevaluate and restructure these contracts that we’re under. The DGA is obviously up, but it starts with and ends without the writers. Without the writing, there’s no directing, there’s no acting,” Byrne said.
Co-star Carla Gallo, who also worked with Rogen and Byrne in “Neighbors,” called out residuals as a key source of income for actors and actresses like herself.
“I am definitely representative of actors who work for a period of time and then don’t work for very long periods of time. I survive off the residuals,” Gallo said.
Why It’s Important: The comments from Rogen, Byrne and Gallo come as the streaming platforms and the royalties associated with them have been the biggest focus in the latest negotiations.
Many streaming companies have pushed through with cost cuts and slowed down the production of original content as they prioritize profitability.
Netflix is profitable and rewards its top executives handsomely compared to its average employee. As Benzinga previously reported, co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos received $51.07 million and $50.3 million respectively in 2022 in salary and stock option awards.
Sarandos and new co-CEO Greg Peters will have annual salaries of $3 million each in 2023, while earning potentially $30 million more depending on performance-based targets.
In 2022, the average total compensation for Netflix employees was $218,400.
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