Commercial Residuals

Commercial pay cycles run for 13 weeks. Payments are sent directly to the actor or representation, NOT to SAGAFTRA. If the commercial is not a ‘buy out’, residuals for commercials are paid for each airing.
Payments for each airing are on a sliding scale, ie: the ‘cost per airing’ is much higher for airings #1 - #10 than for airings #50 - 60. This continues until the cycle maximum (3000 airings). IF the production company wishes to continue using the commercial after the 13 weeks, the payment scale resets and they must pay for each airing from the top of the payment structure. This is known as a ‘roll over’ as the commercial ‘rolls over’ into the next payment cycle, and a nice shiny new check arrives in the mail.

Cable TV
Payment for all intended airings within a cycle is due 15 days after the date the commercial first airs. This first air date is considered the beginning of the first 13 week cycle. The next payment is due 15 days after the beginning of the 2nd cycle, and so on for every cycle.

Network TV
Network TV residuals are based on a 7 day payment period, running from Monday to Sunday. Whatever airs within those 7 days is due 15 days after the first Sunday following the initial airing of the commercial. The next payment is due 7 days after the following Sunday for all usage within that week, and so on. Although payments are being made every week, the payment rate sheet still resets (rolls over) after each 13 week cycle.

Understanding Residuals defines residuals as “compensation paid to performers for use of a theatrical motion picture or television program beyond the use covered by initial compensation”.

Principal performers recieve residuals; background actors do not. You will not recieve residuals for an initial release; you are paid residuals when the project is sold in markets other than the initial intended market.

So, if a SAGAFTRA film is made to be released in theaters, actors do not get residuals when the film comes out in theaters. This is because their initial paycheck already included a release in that ‘media market’. The residuals are paid when that film sells in another media market, including DVD, VOD, cable, TV or new media. TV episodes, your initial paycheck covers the first airing and residuals are paid on subsequent airings.

When Are Residuals Paid? states “For TV work, residuals begin once a show starts re-airing or is released to video/DVD, pay television, broadcast TV, basic cable, or new media. For film work, residuals begin once the movie appears on video/DVD, basic cable and free or pay television, or new media.”

When Will the Check Arrive?
Residuals are sent to SAG and processed (for up to sixty days) before being sent to the actor. states the following regarding when residuals are due to SAG from each production:

“For projects made for TV then released to:
•    Network TV, non-network TV - 30 days after air date.
•    Syndication - 4 months after air date
•    Foreign free to air - up to 30 days after producer obtains knowledge of first foreign telecast and never later than 6 months after that first telecast
•    Basic Cable - Quarterly when the producer receives revenue
•    Supplemental Markets - 4 months after initial exhibition, then quarterly

When are Residuals Sent to SAG by the Production
For projects made for theatrical then released to:
•    Network Prime Time - 30 days after initial broadcast, then quarterly when the producer receives revenue
•    Free TV, Non-Network - 4 months after initial broadcast, then quarterly when the producer receives revenue
•    Supplemental Markets - 4 months after initial exhibition, then quarterly when the producer receives revenue”