Actor Gets $0.81 Residual Check For Original NBCU Episode On Streaming

Actor Mandy Moore, who was featured in the NBCUniversal drama hit of a few years ago, “This is Us,” said she once got checks for 81 cents and one penny for residuals for this show’s episodes airing on a streaming platform.

Lisa Edelstein, lead actor in Bravo's “A Girlfriend's Guide To Divorce,” recently, got a streaming TV check for 97 cents for two episodes. This is a show she wrote and starred in.

Think about this -- as every legacy TV streaming platform keeps showing net losses on a yearly basis for all their direct-to-consumer businesses. 

Yes, all are making progress -- even seeing WBD's “Max” peeking through the clouds to eke out a small quarterly profit.

But the overall math still seems to be an issue. Consumers are paying 25% more year-over-year for a streaming service on average. 



This is why Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, told The Ankler: “By some basic metrics, there seems to be something that's broken in the market."

If big TV-based network media companies are having trouble making money, and if actors and writers say they are not getting a decent wage via streaming exposure,  there is something amiss.

And here's something else that has been alluded to: The supply, the demand and the quality of that content.

Let's focus on the latter. Khan says: “Critics seem to say that the quality of content being produced is actually in decline.”

What about all those stories and reviews filled with praise and promise for so-called "Peak TV" -- a term coined from FX Networks executives for over a decade? Perhaps all that was just hype.

Some of this makes sense. The rush to produce premium, network-quality TV and movies yields a lot of "spillage," along with "quality."

Recently, Zachary Levi, star of the movie “Shazam” franchise -- including the most recent “Shazam: Fury Of The Gods” -- said as much at Fan Expo Chicago.

“I personally feel like the amount of content that comes out of Hollywood... is garbage — they don’t care enough to actually make it great for you guys,” Levi said, reportedly to big consumer applause. “They don't.”

Levi did pull back on those remarks a bit recently. Still, this has resonated with other performers to a great extent -- perhaps not the mega superstars, but still well-known movie and TV performers.

Initially, rising streaming businesses must have been cheered by all writers and actors alike that a new venue for their wares would mean improving their financial health. 

But then came the real details.

Who, for example, really has the industry leverage here?  Just a few might be the answer.

Is it probable to assume lax antitrust efforts over the last couple of decades around media consolidation gave more leverage to a handful of legacy media companies.

While streaming seemed to be good for the TV and movie business directly -- and for consumers with the friendly term “direct-to-consumer” attached -- it still comes through the hands of just a few mega-media owners, only resulting in some near-term feel-good promotion of those new digital platforms. 

Blame those public companies continuing to cater to the demands of fickle and hard-pressed shareholders only looking at the next quarterly earning results hopefully resulting in an uptick of media stock prices. 

An 87-cent paycheck says a lot.

1 comment about "Actor Gets $0.81 Residual Check For Original NBCU Episode On Streaming".
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  1. Robert Rose from AIM Tell-A-Vision, August 23, 2023 at 7:12 p.m.

    Nice article, Wayne. Streaming IS broken.. including AVOD. Indie producers are getting misled and screwed. At this point, any indie producer going the AVOD route will likely not even make the money back for simply delivering said content. I know that of which I speak. My show was told to expect around $70K for our first season on Crackle via the distribution/aggregator Screen Media... In the end, you know how much we made? A little over $200. That's a $68+K (99.7%) missed projection for an entire season of content that cost us between $250-300K to produce. What am I going to do with $200? Why would I participate in such a ridiculous business model? Our statements were perpetually late and were simple documents anyone could have typed on their home computer. There was virtually zero transparency. When we canceled and demanded our content be taken down, twice they told me it was down off all platforms, but it kept popping up on various platforms months later until I threatened legal action. It was one of the most unprofessional experiences of my 25+ year career. I've nicknamed my experience the "Crackle Debacle" and am still weighing my options on what steps to take next.  

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