The WGA is talking numbers to claim that a long period of industrial action will be more damaging than a quick settlement.
We’re entering the third week of the writers’ strike that has seen a total shutdown of writing projects in Hollywood and across the US. It’s the first writers’ strike to take place since the 100 day shutdown of 2007/8 which was estimated to have cost the Los Angeles economy around $2bn.
The guild’s negotiating team have made public its claims that a prolonged strike is in nobody’s interest, especially not the studios, with the claim that an extended period of industrial action will ultimately be more expensive than a settlement.
According to the WGA, ‘the studios are risking significant continued disruption in the coming weeks and months that would far outweigh the costs of settling.’ The guild goes on to state that ‘proposals on the table at contract expiration on May 1 would cost the industry collectively $429 million per year, approximately $343 million of which is attributable to eight of our largest employers.’
Whilst nobody is sure just how much money the strike is costing studios per day, the longer the action goes on, the more it will begin to bite into these companies’ bottom lines. Whilst some members of the producers’ alliance such as Apple are about as cash-rich as a company can be, others such as Disney are in the middle of round after round of cost-cutting and don’t need the headache of a daily loss incurred by strike action.
An unnamed studio executive refuted the WGA’s claim that the studio’s were losing $30m a day due to the strike, telling Deadline, “they are baseless and just made up to gin up their membership and make for provocative headlines.”
No matter how much the conflict is costing the studios, it doesn’t look like the strike will be ending anytime soon. The Directors Guild of America is currently negotiating its soon-to-expire deal with the studios so we’ll see which way that goes in the next month or so and how that shapes the story. We’ll bring you more on this as we hear it.
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