Writers Guild says companies have ‘leveraged streaming’ to shortchange writers

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As both sides prepare to negotiate ahead of a possible writers’ strike, the Writers Guild of America lays out its key issue.

Negotiations are set to begin on Monday between the Writers Guild of America and the AMPTP (American Motion Picture and Television Producers) with the aim of coming to an agreement over pay and conditions that could head off a damaging strike action.

With the current deal between the two parties set to expire on May 1st, there are several points for consideration set to be explored with the main bone of contention set to be the claim that writers have been excluded from the booming streaming era and are, according to the WGA, worse off than before.

In a document released ahead of next week’s negotiations, the Guild asserts that ‘companies have leveraged the streaming transition to underpay writers, creating more precarious, lower-paid models for writers’ work”. This has been done by harnessing the uncertainty over so many different distribution models to find loopholes in contract terms that were not designed to cope with the many ways that a film can now be distributed and exhibited.

In terms of pay, the document states that when inflation is factored in, writers are making 14% less on average than they were five years ago with many working 50% more than they were in that time period.

On the flipside, the AMPTP is likely to argue that streaming platforms are yet to see profitability and therefore meeting the WGA demands is impossible. That’s likely to be the impasse that both sides will face when they sit down at the negotiating table next week. We’ll bring you more news on this story as we hear it.

Screen Daily

Image: BigStock

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