Hasbro laying off 1,100 workers as weak toy sales persist into holiday season

Hasbro is laying off about 1,100 employees as the toy maker struggles with soft sales that have carried into the holiday shopping season, according to a company memo obtained by CNBC.

Hasbro had about 6,300 employees as of earlier this year, according to a company fact sheet.

Shares of the company fell more than 2% Tuesday. Rival Mattel’s stock also slipped.

“We anticipated the first three quarters to be challenging, particularly in Toys, where the market is coming off historic, pandemic-driven highs,” CEO Chris Cocks said in the memo. “While we have made some important progress across our organization, the headwinds we saw through the first nine months of the year have continued into Holiday and are likely to persist into 2024.

Hasbro, which already laid off hundreds of employees earlier this year, had warned in October that trouble was on the horizon. In the company’s most recent quarterly earnings report, Hasbro slashed its already-soft full-year outlook, projecting a 13% to 15% revenue decline for the year.

Popular toy brand sales had dropped significantly, Hasbro also said in the October quarterly report. Popular brands like My Little Pony, Nerf and Transformer had fallen 18% at the time, due to “softer category trends.”

Hasbro’s stock was down nearly 20% through Monday’s close.

Hasbro competitor Mattel had also warned of soft sales. Yet Mattel’s stock is up about 6% through Monday, powered a great deal by the box office success of the film “Barbie.” That’s still behind the 17% gain posted by the S&P 500 so far this year, though.

Retailers overall could be in for a tepid holiday season, and toys saw lower discounts for consumers when compared to discounts a year ago.

Read the full memo from CEO Chris Cocks:

Team,   

A year ago, we laid out our strategy to focus on building fewer, bigger, better brands and began the process of transforming Hasbro. Since then, we’ve had some important wins, like retooling our supply chain, improving our inventory position, lowering costs, and reinvesting over $200M back into the business while growing share across many of our categories. But the market headwinds we anticipated have proven to be stronger and more persistent than planned. While we’re confident in the future of Hasbro, the current environment demands that we do more, even if these choices are some of the hardest we have to make.   

Today we’re announcing additional headcount reductions as part of our previously communicated strategic transformation, affecting approximately 1,100 colleagues globally in addition to the roughly 800 reductions already taken.  

Our leadership team came to this difficult decision after much deliberation. We recognize this is heavy news that affects the livelihoods of our friends and colleagues. Our focus is communicating with each of you transparently and supporting you through this period of change. I want to start by addressing why we are doing this now, and what’s next. 

Why now? 

We entered 2023 expecting a year of change including significant updates to our leadership team, structure, and scope of operations. We anticipated the first three quarters to be challenging, particularly in Toys, where the market is coming off historic, pandemic-driven highs. While we have made some important progress across our organization, the headwinds we saw through the first nine months of the year have continued into Holiday and are likely to persist into 2024.  

To position Hasbro for growth, we must first make sure our foundation is solid and profitable. To do that, we need to modernize our organization and get even leaner. While we see workforce reductions as a last resort, given the state of our business, it’s a lever we must pull to keep Hasbro healthy. 

What happens next? 

While we’re making changes across the entire organization, some functional areas will be affected more than others. Many of those whose roles are affected have been or will be informed in the next 24 hours, although the timings will vary by country, in line with local rules and subject to employee consultations where required. This includes team members who have raised their hands to step down from their roles at the end of the year as part of our Voluntary Early Retirement Program (VRP) in the U.S. We’re immensely grateful to these colleagues for their many years of dedication, and we wish them all the best.   

The majority of the notifications will happen over the next six months, with the balance occurring over the next year as we tackle the remaining work on our organizational model. This includes standardizing processes within Finance, HR, IT and Consumer Care as part of our Global Business Enablement project, but it also means doing more work across the entire business to minimize management layers and create a nimbler organization. 

What else are we doing? 

I know this news is especially difficult during the holiday season. We value each of our team members – they aren’t just employees, they’re friends and colleagues. We decided to communicate now so people have time to plan and process the changes. For those employees affected we are offering comprehensive packages including job placement support to assist in their transition.  

We’ve also done what we can to minimize the scale of impact, like launching the VRP and exploring options to reduce our global real estate footprint. On that note, our Providence, Rhode Island office is currently not being used to its full capacity and we’ve decided to exit the space at the end of the lease term in January 2025. Over the next year, we’ll welcome teams from our Providence office to our headquarters down the road in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It’s an opportunity to reshape how we work and ensure our workspace is vibrant and productive, while reflecting our more flexible in-person cadence since the pandemic.   

Looking ahead 

As Gina often says, cost-cutting is not a strategy. We know this, and that’s why we’ll continue to grow and invest in several areas in 2024.  

As we uncover more cost savings, we’ll invest in new systems, insights and analytics, product development and digital – all while strengthening our leading franchises and ensuring our brands have the essential marketing they need to thrive well into the future.  

We’ll also tap into unlocked potential across our business, like our new supply chain efficiency, our direct-to-consumer capabilities, and key partnerships to maximize licensing opportunities, scale entertainment, and free up our own content dollars to drive new brand development. 

I know there is no sugar-coating how hard this is, particularly for the employees directly affected. We’re grateful to them for their contributions, and we wish them all the best. In the coming weeks, let’s support each other, and lean in to drive through these necessary changes, so we can return our business to growth and carry out Hasbro’s mission.  

Thanks,    

Chris  

–CNBC’s Claudia Johnson contributed to this report.

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Here’s everything coming to Amazon’s Prime Video in September 2023

Amazon’s Prime Video has high hopes for its September lineup, which includes the return of “The Wheel of Time” and a spinoff of “The Boys.”

After a two-year layoff, Season 2 of the sprawling fantasy epic “The Wheel of Time” (Sept. 1) picks up with Moraine (Rosamund Pike) and Rand (Josha Stradowski) now scattered and forced to regroup as the Dark One turns out to be far from defeated. Season 1 was one of Prime’s most-watched series ever, and Season 2 will reportedly be darker and more action-packed, spanning the second and third books of Robert Jordan’s series.

The end of the month will bring the premiere of “Gen V” (Sept. 27), set in “The Boys” universe and following a group of students with extraordinary abilities at a prestigious — and extremely competitive — college for superheroes-to-be. It looks every bit as depraved and violent as the massively popular “The Boys,” for better or worse.

Also see: What’s coming in September to Netflix | Hulu

Amazon’s
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streaming service also has “Kelce” (Sept. 12), a feature documentary about Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce’s 2022-’23 season, which will serve as a prelude to the return of NFL Thursday Night Football (Sept. 14), which kicks off with the Eagles against the Minnesota Vikings.

Here’s the complete list of what else is coming to Prime Video in September (release dates are subject to change):

What’s coming to Prime Video in September 2023

Sept. 1

Spin City S1-6 (1997)
The Wheel of Time Season 2
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1970)
21 Grams (2004)
23:59 (2011)
A Bullet for Pretty Boy (1970)
A Force of One (1979)
A Man Called Sarge (1990)
A Matter of Time (1976)
A Rage to Live (1965)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
After Midnight (1989)
Alakazam the Great (1961)
Alex Cross (2012)
All About My Mother (2000)
Amazons of Rome (1963)
American Ninja (1985)
American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987)
American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989)
American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991)
Anaconda (1997)
And Your Name Is Jonah (1979)
Angel Eyes (2001)
Apartment 143 (2012)
April Morning (1988)
Arabian Nights (2000)
Are You in the House Alone? (2022)
Army of Darkness (1993)
As Above, So Below (2014)
Back to School (1986)
Bad Education (2020)
Bad News Bears (2005)
Bailout at 43,000 (1957)
Balls Out (2015)
Beer (1985)
Behind the Mask (1999)
Belly of an Architect (1990)
Berlin Tunnel 21 (1981)
Bewitched (2005)
Billion Dollar Brain (1967)
Blow (2001)
Body Slam (1987)
Born to Race (2011)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Boy of the Streets (1937)
Breakdown (1997)
Brides of Dracula (1960)
Brigadoon (1954)
Broken Embraces (2010)
Buster (1988)
Calendar Girl Murders (1984)
California Dreaming (1979)
Campus Rhythm (1943)
Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl (1954)
Carpool (1996)
Carry on Columbus (1992)
Carve Her Name With Pride (1958)
Chasing Papi (2003)
Cheerleaders Beach Party (1978)
Children of Men (2007)
Child’s Play (2019)
China Doll (1958)
Chrome and Hot Leather (1971)
Cocaine: One Man’s Seduction (1983)
Committed (2000)
Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Condor (1986)
Confidence Girl (1952)
Courage Mountain (1990)
Crossplot (1969)
Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966)
Curse of the Undead (1959)
Cycle Savages (1969)
Dagmar’s Hot Pants, Inc. (1971)
Damned River (1989)
Dancers (1987)
Danger in Paradise (1977)
Dangerous Love (1988)
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Defiance (2009)
Deja Vu (2006)
Desert Sands (1955)
Desperado (1995)
Detective Kitty O’Day (1944)
Detective School Dropouts (1986)
Devil (2010)
Devil’s Eight (1969)
Diary of a Bachelor (1964)
Dogs (1977)
Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title (1966)
Double Trouble (1992)
Down the Drain (1990)
Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype (1980)
Dracula (1931)
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Driving Miss Daisy (1990)
Dust 2 Glory (2017)
Edge of Darkness (2010)
Eight Men Out (1988)
Eight on the Lam (1967)
Electra Glide in Blue (1973)
Elephant Tales (2006)
Europa Report (2013)
Evil Dead (2013)
Explosive Generation (1961)
Extraction (2015)
Face/Off (1997)
Fanboys (2009)
Fashion Model (1945)
Fatal Charm (1978)
Fearless Frank (1969)
Finders Keepers (2014)
Flight That Disappeared (1961)
Flight to Hong Kong (1956)
Fools Rush In (1997)
For the Love of Aaron (1994)
For the Love of It (1980)
For Those Who Think Young (1964)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
From Hollywood to Deadwood (1989)
Frontera (2014)
Fury on Wheels (1971)
Gambit (1967)
Ghost Story (1981)
Gigli (2003)
Grace Quigley (1985)
Grievous Bodily Harm (1988)
Hangfire (1991)
Haunted House (2023)
Hawks (1989)
Hell Drivers (1958)
Here Comes the Devil (2012)
Hollywood Harry (1986)
Honeymoon Limited (1935)
Hostile Witness (1969)
Hot Under the Collar (1991)
Hotel Rwanda (2005)
Hugo (2011)
I Am Durán (2019)
I Saw the Devil (2010)
I’m So Excited! (2013)
Inconceivable (2017)
Innocent Lies (1995)
Intimate Strangers (2006)
Invisible Invaders (1959)
It Rains in My Village (1968)
Jarhead (2005)
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)
Joyride (2022)
Juan of the Dead (2012)
Kalifornia (1993)
Khyber Patrol (1954)
La Bamba (1987)
Labou (2009)
Lady in a Corner (1989)
Ladybird, Ladybird (1995)
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde (2003)
Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003)
Little Dorrit (Part 1) (1988)
Little Dorrit (Part 2) (1988)
Little Sweetheart (1989)
Lost Battalion (1960)
Mama (2013)
Mandrill (2009)
Masters of the Universe (1987)
Matchless (1967)
Meeting at Midnight (1944)
Men’s Club (1986)
Mfkz (2018)
Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)
Miss All American Beauty (1982)
Mission of the Shark (1991)
Mixed Company (1974)
Mystery Liner (1934)
National Lampoon’s Movie Madness (1983)
New York Minute (2004)
Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
Night Creatures (1962)
No (2012)
Observe and Report (2009)
Octavia (1984)
October Sky (1999)
Of Mice and Men (1992)
One Man’s Way (1964)
One Summer Love (1976)
Operation Atlantis (1965)
Overkill (1996)
Panga (1990)
Passport to Terror (1989)
Phaedra (1962)
Play Misty for Me (1971)
Portrait of a Stripper (1979)
Powaqqatsi (1988)
Predator: The Quietus (1988)
Private Investigations (1987)
Prophecy (1979)
Pulse (2006)
Quinceanera (1960)
Raiders of the Seven Seas (1953)
Red Dawn (1984)
Red Eye (2005)
Red Riding Hood (1988)
Red River (1948)
Reform School Girls (1969)
Riddick (2013)
Riot in Juvenile Prison (1959)
River of Death (1989)
Rocky (1976)
Rocky II (1979)
Rose Garden (1989)
Roxanne (1987)
Rumble Fish (1983)
Runaway Train (1985)
Running Scared (2006)
Safari 3000 (1982)
Season of Fear (1989)
Secret Window (2004)
Sense and Sensibility (1996)
Sergeant Deadhead (1965)
Seven Hours to Judgment (1988)
Sharks’ Treasure (1975)
She’s Out of My League (2010)
She’s the One (1996)
Sin Nombre (2009)
Sinister (2012)
Slamdance (1987)
Snitch (2013)
Son of Dracula (1943)
Space Probe Taurus (1965)
Spanglish (2004)
Spell (1977)
Stardust (2007)
Step Up (2006)
Sticky Fingers (1988)
Stigmata (1999)
Sugar (2009)
Summer Rental (1985)
Surrender (1987)
Sword of the Valiant (1984)
Tangerine (2015)
Tenth Man (1988)
The Adventures of Gerard (1978)
The Adventures of the American Rabbit (1986)
The Assisi Underground (1986)
The Bad News Bears (1976)
The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955)
The Birdcage (1996)
The Black Dahlia (2006)
The Black Tent (1957)
The Bourne Identity (2002)
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
The Break-Up (2006)
The Cat Burglar (1961)
The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
The Clown and the Kid (1961)
The Diary of a High School Bride (1959)
The Dictator (2012)
The Evictors (1979)
The Fake (1953)
The Family Stone (2005)
The Final Alliance (1990)
The Finest Hour (1991)
The Frog Prince (1988)
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)
The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971)
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
The Late Great Planet Earth (1979)
The Legend of Zorro (2005)
The Little Vampire (2017)
The Living Ghost (1942)
The Locusts (1997)
The Machinist (2004)
The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (1975)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
The Mighty Quinn (1989)
The Misfits (1961)
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
The Mouse on the Moon (1963)
The Mummy (1932)
The Naked Cage (1986)
The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968)
The Possession (2012)
The Prince (2014)
The Program (1993)
The Ring (2002)
The Sacrament (2014)
The Savage Wild (1970)
The Secret in Their Eyes (2010)
The Sharkfighters (1956)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
The Winds of Kitty Hawk (1978)
The Wolf Man (1941)
The Young Savages (1961)
Three Came To Kill (1960)
Three Kinds of Heat (1987)
Through Naked Eyes (1983)
Time Limit (1957)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1987)
Track of Thunder (1967)
Transformations (1991)
Transporter 3 (2008)
Trollhunter (2011)
True Heart (1996)
Underground (1970)
Unholy Rollers (1972)
Unsettled Land (1989)
V/H/S (2012)
War, Italian Style (1967)
Warriors Five (1962)
We Still Kill the Old Way (1968)
When a Stranger Calls (2006)
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
Where the River Runs Black (1986)
Wild Bill (1995)
Wild Racers (1968)
Wild Things (1998)
Windows (1980)
Woman of Straw (1964)
Young Racers (1963)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Sept. 5
One Shot: Overtime Elite

Sept. 7
Single Moms Club (2014)

Sept. 8
Sitting in Bars with Cake

Sept. 12
Inside (2023)
Kelce

Sept. 14
Thursday Night Football

Sept. 15
A Million Miles Away

Wilderness

Written in the Stars

Sept. 19
A Thousand and One (2023)

Sept. 22
Cassandro (2023)

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023)

Sept. 26
The Fake Sheikh

Sept. 29
Gen V

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#Heres #coming #Amazons #Prime #Video #September

Lukas Gage’s viral video audition haunts the ‘hot labor summer’ actors’ strike sweeping Hollywood

In November 2020, the actor Lukas Gage was auditioning for a role via video link when he heard the producer make some disparaging remarks about the size of his apartment. 

“These poor people who live in these tiny apartments,” the producer said. “I’m looking at his background and he’s got his TV and …”

Gage, who at that time had had a four-episode arc on HBO’s “Euphoria” among other small roles, interrupted the producer — British director Tristram Shapeero, who later apologized for his remarks — to let him know that he was not muted and that Gage could, in fact, hear him. 

“Yeah, I know it’s a sh—y apartment,” Gage said. “That’s why — give me this job so I can get a better one.”

Shapeero replied, “Oh my god, I am so, so sorry … I am absolutely mortified.”

Putting together an audition tape can often take up an entire day and involve setting up a studio space for sound and lighting.

“Listen, I’m living in a four-by-four box, just give me the job and we’ll be fine,” Gage responded. 

Gage kept his sense of humor, but he also decided to post the video on his Twitter account to show how actors are sometimes treated from the moment they audition for a role — and perhaps to remind people to make sure you’re on mute if you’re trash-talking someone on a Zoom
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call.

It’s three years later, and members of the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild are on strike, looking for more pay, better working conditions and stricter rules around things like the use of actors’ images in the age of artificial intelligence and the lack of residuals from streaming networks. 

The perils of the online audition

Meanwhile, Gage’s 2020 online audition is resonating again. 

For a working actor — who, like the majority of SAG-AFTRA members who may not be an A-list star — simply getting in front of a producer as Gage did can be a long and difficult process. And since the start of the pandemic, the nature of auditions has changed dramatically. This has come to symbolize the uphill struggle actors face from the moment they hear about a role. 

In May, Ezra Knight, New York local president of SAG-AFTRA, asked members to authorize strike action, saying contracts needed to be renegotiated to reflect dramatic changes in the industry. Knight cited the need to address artificial intelligence, pay, benefits, reduced residuals in streaming and “unregulated and burdensome self-taped auditions.”

In the days of live auditions, actors would read for a role with a casting director. But several actors told MarketWatch that it’s become harder to make a living in recent years, and that it all starts with the audition tape, which has now become standard in the industry. 

By the time Gage got in front of producers, for instance, he had likely either already delivered a tape and was put on a shortlist to read in front of a producer, or the casting director was already familiar with his work and wanted him to read for the part. 

But an audition tape can often take up an entire day to put together, actors say. When the opportunity to audition arrives, actors typically have to drop everything they’re doing — whether they’re working a side hustle or taking time off or even enjoying a vacation.

Cadden Jones: “All the financial responsibilities have fallen on us. The onus is on us to create our auditions.”


Cadden Jones

They need to arrange good lighting and a clean backdrop — Gage’s TV set became a distraction for the producer during his audition — set up the camera, and scramble to find a “reader” — someone to read the other roles in the scene, preferably another actor. 

Then the actor has to edit the audition to highlight their strongest take and upload it. There are currently no regulations on the amount of pages a casting director can send to a candidate, and actors say there’s often not enough time to properly prepare.

“Unfortunately, it’s been going in this direction for some time now,” said Cadden Jones, an actor based in New York who has credits on shows including Showtime’s
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“Billions” and Amazon Prime’s
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“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” 

“This was the first year I did not qualify for health insurance in decades,” she told MarketWatch. “I just started teaching.”

To put that into perspective: Members of SAG-AFTRA must earn $26,470 in a 12-month base period to qualify for health insurance. The median annual wage in the U.S. hovers at around $57,000, based on the weekly median as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Jones and her partner, Michael Schantz, an actor who works mostly in theater, are starting a communications consulting company to increase their income.

“Most if not all of my actor friends have had to supplement their income since the pandemic,” she said. “We’re in trouble as a community of actors who used to make a good living doing what we do. It’s not like any of us lost our talent overnight. I, for one, am very glad that we’re striking.”

But Jones said that, with the auditioning process taking place mostly online since the onset of the pandemic, casting agents — who work for producers — are able to see more people for a given role, making the competition for roles even more intense.

‘This was the first year I did not qualify for health insurance in decades.’


— Cadden Jones, an actor based in New York

“We don’t go into casting offices anymore,” Jones said. “All the financial responsibilities have fallen on us. The onus is on us to create our auditions. It’s harder to know what they want, and you don’t have the luxury to work with a casting director in a physical space to get adjustments, which was personally my favorite part of the process — that collaboration.”

She added: “Because the audition rate accelerated, the booking rate went down dramatically for everybody. But don’t get me wrong. Once the strike is officially over, I want all the auditions I can get.”

SAG-AFTRA has proposed rules and expectations to address some of the burden and costs actors bear when it comes to casting, including providing a minimum amount of time for actors to send in self-taped auditions; disclosing whether an offer has been made for the role or it has already been cast; and limiting the number of pages for a “first call” or first round of auditions.

Before the negotiations broke down with the actors’ union, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents over 350 television and production companies, said it offered SAG-AFTRA $1 billion in wage increases, pension and health contributions and residual increases as part of a range of proposals related to pay and working conditions.

Those proposals included limitations on requests for audition tapes, including page, time and technology requirements, as well as options for virtual or in-person auditions, AMPTP said. The producers’ group characterized their offer as “the most lucrative deal we have ever negotiated.”

Michael Schantz: “How does the broader culture value storytelling and the people who make stories?”


Michael Schantz

Jones said she doesn’t blame the casting directors. It’s up to the producers, she said, to be more mindful of how the changes in the industry since the advent of streaming, the decline in wages adjusted for inflation, and poor residuals from streaming services have taken a toll on working actors.

Bruce Faulk, who has been a member of SAG-AFTRA since 1992, said that for work on a one-off character part or a recurring role on a network show, he might receive a check for hundreds or even thousands of dollars in residuals. And — crucially — he knows how many times a particular show has aired. 

Residuals are fees paid to actors each time a TV show or film is broadcast on cable or network television. They are based on the size of the role and the budget of the production, among other things. For shows that air on streaming services, however, residuals are far harder to track. 

What’s more, residuals decline over time and can often amount to just a few cents per broadcast. 

Actor Kimiko Glenn, who appeared on episodes of Netflix’s
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“Orange Is the New Black,” recently shared a video on TikTok showing $27 in residuals from her work on that show.

Faulk sympathizes. “A lot of checks from HBO
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-1.37%

for ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘Gossip Girl’ I get are for $33,” he said. “I never know how many people watched me on ‘Gossip Girl’ in the three episodes I’m in. All we know is whatever the streaming services decided to announce as their subscriber numbers.”

Like Jones, Faulk said this will be the first year he won’t qualify for SAG-AFTRA health insurance, which covers him, his wife and his son. This is despite him having worked enough over the past 10 years to qualify for a pension when he turns 67. “Mine is up to $1,000 a month now,” he said, noting that the pension will keep increasing if he keeps getting acting work.

Schantz, who had a three-episode arc on NBC’s
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“The Blacklist” in addition to his other TV, film and theater credits, finds the recent shifts in the landscape for actors somewhat difficult to reconcile with the way people turned to TV and film during the loneliest days of the pandemic.

“One of the most concerning things I can think of right now is the conversation around value. How does the broader culture value storytelling and the people who make stories?” he said. “The arts always tend to fall to the wayside in many ways, but it was striking during the pandemic that so much of our attention went to watching movies and television. There’s obviously something inside of us that feels like we’re part of the human story.”

Actors battle other technology

While big companies like Disney
DIS,
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,
HBO, Apple
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-0.62%
,
Amazon and Netflix make millions of dollars from films and TV series that are watched again and again, Schantz said that actors are unable to make a living. “No one wants to go on strike,” he said. 

Those five companies have not responded to requests for comment from MarketWatch on these issues.

Since his audition tape went viral, Gage has booked regular work, and he found even greater fame when he went on to star in Season 1 of HBO’s “White Lotus.” In 2023, he will star in nine episodes of “You,” now streaming on Netflix, and in the latest season of FX’s “Fargo.” 

Earlier this year, he told the New York Times: “I had never judged my apartment until that day.” He added, “I remember having this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach afterward, like, why am I judging where I’m at in my 20s, at the beginning of my career?”

‘There’s enough Bruce out there where you could take my likeness and my voice and put me in the scene.’


— Bruce Falk, a member of SAG-AFTRA since 1992

But advances in technology are not just hurting actors in the audition process. A debate is raging over the use of AI and whether actors should be expected to sign away the rights to their image in perpetuity, especially when they might only be getting paid for half a day’s work.

“AI is the next big thing,” Falk said. The industry is concerned about companies taking actors’ likenesses and using AI to generate crowd scenes. 

“Even an actor at my level — that guy on that show — there’s enough Bruce out there where you could take my likeness and my voice and put me in the scene: the lieutenant who gives you the overview of what happened to the dead body,” he said. “At this point, I could be technically replaced. We have to get down on paper, in very clear terms, that that can’t be done.”

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers also said it agrees with SAG-AFTRA and had proposed — before the actors’ strike — “that use of a performer’s likeness to generate a new performance requires consent and compensation.” The AMPTP said that would mean no digital version of a performer should be created without the performer’s written consent and a description of the intended use in the film, and that later digital replicas without that performer’s consent would be prohibited.  

“Companies that are publicly traded obviously have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, and whatever they can use, they will use it — and they are using AI,” Schantz said. “Yes, there are some immediate concerns. Whether or not the technology is advanced enough to fully replace actors is an open question, but some people think it’s an inevitability now.

“To let companies have free rein with these technologies is obviously creating a problem,” he added. “I can’t go show up, do a day’s work, have my performance be captured, and have that content create revenue for a company unless I’m being property compensated for it.”

Schantz said he believes there’s still time to address these technological issues before they become a widespread problem that makes all auditions — however cumbersome — obsolete. 

“We haven’t crossed this bridge as a society, but God only knows how far along they are in their plans,” he said. “All I know is it has to be a choice for the actors. There has to be a contract, and we have to be protected. Otherwise, actors will no longer be able to make a living doing this work.”



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Women’s football cries foul at French TV’s ‘lousy’ reporting and indifference

Fans of women’s top football league in France are up in arms at the substandard coverage offered by French television, which they say is symptomatic of broader neglect of the sport in a country that was long a powerhouse of the women’s game in Europe but is now falling behind.

Footballers playing for the world’s richest club could be forgiven for expecting state-of-the-art facilities and maximum exposure – unless they are women. 

When the women’s team of Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last played a home game, hosting Rodez at their Camp des Loges ground outside Paris, viewers watching on their television screens at home could barely make out the players running about on the dimly lit pitch.  

The next day, football fans who tuned in for the heavyweight clash between Guingamp and Le Havre experienced similar frustration, the spectacle blurred out by raindrops covering a poorly attended camera lens.

Such sub-par broadcasts are all too familiar to fans of D1 Arkema, the women’s top football league in France, according to the online magazine Footeuses, which published an open letter last week demanding “respect and consideration for women’s football in France”. 

The letter soon went viral on social media, prompting a flurry of reactions from disgruntled fans, says Clément Gauvin, who cofounded Footeuses in the wake of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the first to be hosted on French soil. 


“Some people told us they’d stopped following the women’s game because it had become ‘unwatchable’; others said they stopped playing football altogether because of the lack of facilities and shoddy pitches girls are relegated to,” Gauvin said. 

“We watch women’s football on a daily basis and we have witnessed increasingly worrying signs in recent months,” he added, citing “lousy” television coverage. “You never see this in other sports. The future of the game depends on the quality of the broadcasts.” 

Bring your own scaffolding 

Canal+, which owns the TV rights, says it is aware of the problem, which it blames on “technical” problems it has little or no control over. 

“Of course we are disappointed with the poor quality of the show offered to our subscribers, but unfortunately we are faced with difficulties that do not depend on us,” Thomas Sénécal, the group’s director of sports, told France’s sports daily L’Équipe last week.   

“Over the past four years, we have been doing our utmost to promote the (women’s) league, but we cannot do so alone. We need the French Football Federation (FFF) and the clubs to raise standards and make the league more professional,” Sénécal added. He pointed to inadequate facilities at most of the league’s stadiums, noting that Canal+ crews often “don’t know where to put their cameras, cannot protect them from bad weather and face problems with lighting”. 

Gauvin conceded that the lack of infrastructure is a key factor in the poor coverage, particularly in the smaller stadiums where television crews have to erect scaffolding to get a decent vantage point. When they cannot do so, “the camera necessarily stays at ground level and the picture is terrible”, he acknowledged.  

“However, it’s not only about the facilities. In the men’s game, Canal+ provides more than 30 cameras for a single match. For the women, it’s just two cameras,” Gauvin added. “There is a lack of professionalism on their part too. The commentators often don’t know the women’s game; they get muddled up with the players’ names. The players frequently take to social media to flag their mistakes.”  

Falling behind 

With Canal+’s broadcasting rights set to expire at the end of the season, the lack of bidding rivals has heightened concerns that the broadcaster will do little to raise its game – or indeed raise the stakes.   

Since 2018, the media group has paid €1.2 million per season for TV rights, a six-fold increase on the previous contract. However, the momentum appears to be drying up in France at a time when television rights for women’s football – a key source of income for clubs – are soaring elsewhere in Europe.  

That is particularly the case in England, where Sky Sports and the BBC have agreed to splash out 8 million British pounds (€9.1 million) per season for the women’s Super League, in a lucrative package that includes some free-to-air broadcasting. 

“The fact that Canal+ is yet to make a move with just 6 months to go before the contract expires denotes a lack of interest on its part. There’s a real risk we will end up with a ridiculous price compared to what is happening elsewhere,” said Gauvin, calling on the government to step in and uphold the interests of women’s football. 

A missed opportunity 

France has long been a bastion of the women’s game in Europe, powered by the successes of its two biggest clubs – PSG and Olympique Lyonnais. The latter club has won a staggering eight Champions League titles over the past 15 years. 

“We used to be ahead of other European countries, but the lack of investment in the sport means we are now falling behind,” said Gauvin, pointing to the increasingly unflattering comparison with the development of women’s football in England.  

“Across the Channel, they managed to build on the success of the Euro-2022 tournament they hosted – whereas we failed to do so after the World Cup in 2019,” he added, noting that the top teams in England often play in the same stadiums as the men, regularly drawing crowds of “between 30,000 and 40,000 spectators”, thanks in part to attractive pricing strategies and a strong footprint on social media.  

His words echoed a recent assessment by Les Bleues star Wendy Renard, Lyon’s longtime captain, who lamented France’s “failure to ride the wave of enthusiasm” after the World Cup in 2019. “It wasn’t just Covid – we failed to keep up the momentum and now we’re stagnating,” Renard told L’Equipe, reflecting on a tournament that failed to generate lasting interest in women’s football in France despite raising high hopes of a breakthrough. 


The lack of adequate coverage is not the only culprit. Players also bemoan the poor quality of football pitches, which hinders their play and increases the likelihood of injuries. In its open letter, Footeuses cited a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine that showed women footballers are twice as likely to sustain serious injuries as their male counterparts. 

“We need to give women’s football the means to succeed,” Gauvin summed up. “If we don’t act, things will only get worse and we’ll fall further behind.”  

This article was translated from the original in French.



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Bigg Boss 16: Shalin Bhanot expresses desire to quit show after accusing Tina Datta of ‘using’ him : Bollywood News – Bollywood Hungama


With the competition getting fierce and aggressive with each passing day, Bigg Boss 16 has seen many twists and turns. As the finale nears, we saw some of the most popular contestants bidding adieu to the show and it seems that Shalin Bhanot, who has been in news for his various stints in the reality show, has now expressed his desire to voluntarily bow out of the show. This comes as a surprise considering that the actor has been receiving a lot of support on the show. The actor also revealed that he is upset with the way Tina Datta backed out and didn’t take his side.

Bigg Boss 16: Shalin Bhanot expresses desire to quit show after accusing Tina Datta of ‘using’ him

His decision comes after Shalin Bhanot had a showdown with rapper MC Stan. The two engaged in a heated argument at the Bigg Boss house. Followed by that, the contestants were called into the confession room to speak about the matter. Meanwhile, Tina Datta was asked to give her verdict on the matter, during which, the Uttaran actress maintained that both the contestants were at fault. Her comment really hurt Shalin, who had earlier even confessed about having feelings for her, after which, he requested his exit from the show. The actor expressed that he felt betrayed after Tina refused to take his side, which prompted him to make this request.

Speaking about how both MC Stan and Shiv Thakare became physical, former Bigg Boss contestant Rahul Vaidya maintained that, “MC stan and shiv were very wrong today & both became physical on shalin! Both should be thrown out because It was Stan who abused first & charged on to Shalin and Shiv Scratched Shalin’s Face which was in extremely bad taste & is absolutely unacceptable!#BiggBoss16”. He added, “Shalin handled the whole situation very well and with composure! And in all this Sumbul again looked like a joker.” He concluded adding that abuses are not a good way to retaliate, “I am strongly against Maa Behen Abuses! Jitni gaali deni hai contestant ko do , usko jo kehna hai kaho ,not to his or her maa behen or family who are not even a part of the show! #badtaste #BiggBoss16”.

On the other hand, voicing out a similar opinion, Gauahar Khan said, “Shiv literally held shalins face n pushed it back , near his neck . So shouldn’t shiv evict himself ?????? #bully ! Shalin did not do anything wrong , he got unnecessarily abused by mcstan. His language is so so bad . Sick that whole group is full of bullies ! Omg ! I’m shocked , shiv didn’t attack his neck ?????????? Jhooth ! We all saw what happened!” Gauahar also commented on the show’s promo shared by the channel where she spoke about Tina Datta saying, “Bull crap!!! Tina had her eyes shut because of pain, but how could she have her ears & brains shut!”

Let us see what Salman Khan has to say about Shalin’s decision to quit Bigg Boss 16 on Weekend Ka Vaar episodes.

Also ReadBigg Boss 16: Salman Khan lashes out at Sumbul Touqeer for ‘being obsessed’ with Shalin Bhanot; watch

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