Hollywood screenwriters go on strike on Tuesday

Thousands of Hollywood film and television writers will go on strike on Tuesday, said his union, after talks with the studies and streaming platforms on remuneration and working conditions they ended without agreement.

The stoppage of activities will result in the immediate interruption of successful programs, such as the «late night shows«, and in important delays of television series and films scheduled to premiere this year.

“We have not reached an agreement with the studios and the platforms. We will be on strike after the contract expires at midnight” on Monday, said the writers union from United States (WGA) in an email sent to members and obtained by AFP.

The responses of the studies to the requests were “totally insufficientis, given the existential crisis that screenwriters are facing,” the WGA said.

Major studios and platforms, including Disney and Netflix, represented by the Film and Television Producers Alliance (AMPTP), announced on Monday that talks with the WGA “ended without an agreement.”

2008 strike lasted 100 days and cost $2 billion

A writers’ strike paralyzed the Hollywood audiovisual industry in 2007-2008, in a conflict of 100 days it cost the sector about 2 billion dollars.

This time, the screenwriters demand higher salaries and a greater participation in the profits generated by the boom of streaming -the broadcast of content on demand via the internet-, while the studies maintain that they have to reduce costs due to economic pressures.

The writers say that They struggle to make a living on stagnant or devalued wages due to inflation.n, while their employers they profit and increase the salaries of their executives.

They point out that there have never been so many screenwriters working for the minimum wage set by the unions and denounce that the television channels they hire fewer people to write ever shorter series.

When the talks collapsed on Monday, the WGA accused the studioss to look for Create a casual contract economys, in which to be a screenwriter it would become a “totally independent profession.”

The AMPTP claimed to have submitted a “comprehensive proposall» which included an increase in the scriptwriters remunerationYes, but she said she was not willing to improve on this offer. given the magnitude of the other requests” from the union.

According to his statement, WGA demands that studios hire to a certain number of hyphensThese “for a specified period of time, whether necessary or not” constitute one of the main points of disagreement.

There is also controversy on how screenwriters get paid for the content disseminated for “streaming”, than on platforms like Netflix usually remains visible for years.

With the arrival of streaming, writers ask to revalue payment

For decades, screenwriters collect “residual royalties” for the reuse of their works, a percentage of revenue of studies by the movie or the showor a fixed fee each time an episode is played.

But with streaming, the writers get a fixed annual payment, even if your job has great success, like “Bridgerton” or “Stranger Things”, with hundreds of millions of viewers.

The WGA asks to revalue these amounts today “too low”s in view of the massive international reuse» of the programs. youalso wants to discuss the future impact of artificial intelligence in the scriptwriting profession.

The AMPTP points out that the “residual rights” paid to scriptwriters reached a record level of 494 million dollars in 2021, in front of the 333 million dollars ten years earlier.

After the waste of the last few years, when rival platforms tried to increase your subscribers at all costsstudios are now under intense pressure from investors to reduce expenses and generate profits.

And they deny using as a pretext the existence of difficulties andeconomic resources to strengthen its position in negotiations with the scriptwriters.

“Do you think Disney would fire 7,000 people for fun?” indicated a source close to the AMPTP. And he added: “There is only one profitable platform at the moment, and it’s Netflix. The industry film is also a fairly competitive sector.

The communication of the studies Monday indicated that they remained “willing to enter into discussions with the WGA in an effort to break this logjam.”

But the industry fears a Domino effect. Other Hollywood unions have stood in solidarity with screenwriters, such as the SAG-AFTRA of the actors, and the DGA, of the directors.

stars at the Met Gala on Mondays were in favor of the writers.

«Everything changed with streaming platforms and everyone needs to be compensated for their work.” actress Amanda Seyfried told Variety.