Deadline nears for US screenwriter strike

WGA member holds strike poster in 2008Image copyright
Toby Canham/Getty

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A Writers Guild strike in 2007-2008 cost the California economy millions, according to at least one study.

A dispute between Hollywood studios in addition to screenwriters could lead to the first writers strike in a decade.

The current deal expires at midnight Pacific Standard Time (08:00 BST). Formal talks to reach a fresh deal have been going on since 13 March.

Officially the two sides are not commenting on negotiations, although reports suggest a compromise is usually from the works.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) wants higher pay per episode in addition to royalties for reruns.

The writers’ union, which represents about 9,000 people, says its members have been squeezed, as studios commission shows with fewer episodes, although lock up writers with exclusive contracts.

The union also says writers are not sharing enough of the profits made through online streaming, which keeps shows in addition to movies alive for years after first airing.

The union estimates the average salary for TV writer-producers fell 23% from the last two years.

Writers’ Strike: Are US TV shows about to fall off air?

Competition mounts for Netflix

that will says its requests might add about $156m in costs for the major production companies, which include firms such as 21st Century Fox in addition to Time Warner.

“The undeniable truth is usually that will these costs are very affordable for these profitable companies,” that will said in a post on its website.

About 96% of more than 6,000 WGA members voted to strike last week. Some took to social media to express solidarity, changing pictures on Twitter to spotlight their support.

A strike might first affect topical shows, such as Saturday Night Live, which have enjoyed higher ratings since the election of Donald Trump as President, who has proved an common target for news satire.


The impact might be felt more slowly elsewhere.

although analysts said the threat posed by online services, such as Amazon in addition to Netflix, puts pressure on major broadcasters in addition to cable companies to avoid a work stoppage.

The Alliance of Motion Picture in addition to Television Producers, which represents conglomerates such as Comcast Corp, Walt Disney Co in addition to CBS Corp, said last week that will is usually “committed to reaching a deal … that will keeps the industry working.”

Stephen Burke, a Comcast executive, told investors last week he was “optimistic” that will the issues might be resolved.

“Strikes aren’t Great for anybody,” he said. “The people on both sides of the table tend to lose in addition to I’m hopeful that will we’re going to get that will done.”

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Angela Weiss/Getty

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Writer Billy Ray, right, has worked on films such as The Hunger Games is usually one of the people leading negotiations for the Writers Guild of America

The last WGA strike – a 100-day stoppage in 2007-2008 – cost the Californian economy an estimated $2.1 billion in lost output, according to a Milken Institute review.

TV viewership dropped 21% from the first week, according to Nielsen figures.

Online television was in its infancy at the time. Today, Amazon in addition to Netflix are major competitors for eyeballs in addition to have a deep reserve of programs to buffer them through viewer demands for fresh content.

Those companies are not exempt through union demands.

although they might be likely to emerge as big winners in any prolonged strike, which could lead to “lasting improvements in viewership patterns”, Barclays Capital analyst Kannan Venkateshwar wrote in a research note.

Theodore Sarandos, the chief content officer at Netflix, told investors last month that will the firm was “keeping an eye” on the situation in addition to some productions could be held up by a strike.

“Our fingers are crossed that will, that will won’t happen,” he said.

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