Netflix has publicized its stance on the demands for residual payment and the low wages for supporting actors made by the Korean Broadcasting Actors Union.
On the afternoon of the 9th, a Netflix official told OSEN, “Netflix is providing compensation to supporting actors that meet or even exceed the industry standards.” They added, “We are closely collaborating with all production partners to ensure that actors are fairly compensated and treated.”
This was a response to the LA Times article released earlier the same day. According to the report, “Netflix has a vast presence in South Korea. Yet at times, it felt to him as though the company, which outsources all of its production to local studios, wielded its influence from behind a curtain.”
Song Chang Gon, the president of the Korea Broadcasting Actors Union, claimed that Korean actors are not receiving residual payments. “One of their first priorities when entering the local market should be to establish some channel of communication with groups like us,” Song said. “But there’s no answer at all.”
However, a Netflix spokesperson refrained from disclosing whether the company was open to a meeting with the union. They stated that they “adhere to all local laws and regulations” and emphasized that as a streaming service — not a broadcaster — they are not obligated to provide residuals.
Upon entering Korea in 2016, Netflix postponed discussions about residuals due to its initial business struggles. Despite the conditions being ripe for discussions now, Song claims that Netflix is avoiding engagements with the actors’ union. Unlike Netflix, domestic streaming platforms regularly engage with the actors’ unions and provide residuals.
Reportedly, a significant portion of Netflix’s production budget is allocated to star actors or A-list scriptwriters, leaving supporting actors, who do not receive residuals or premiums, with payments starting around $300 per episode. The actors’ union highlights that Netflix’s productions, with fewer episodes compared to standard domestic dramas, lead to considerably lower overall wages.