Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bloggers will not be on strike, however.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has voted to authorize a strike, and WGA leadership have said there will be one, although the timing has yet to be announced formally. There is a possibility that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa may intervene this weekend as a mediator, but most expect a strike on Monday.

There appear to be two key issues: residuals for DVD sales and for streaming over the internet ("new media"). Producers originally wanted to change the contract so they would not have to pay any residuals until they recouped the production costs for the DVDs, but they backed down from this. Given Hollywood's notoriously skewed bookkeeping, it is no wonder writers were unwilling to accept that change. Producers also want keep the current arrangement which offers no residuals whatsoever for any new media profits: they claim there are none, and that such things amount to advertising and promotion, not sales.

Writers want two main things. First, they want to effectively double their residuals payments for DVDs (from about 4 cents to 8 cents per DVD sale). They argue that the original formula negotiated in 1988 is a low rate which they accepted because no one could anticipate how profitable DVD sales would be at that time. The second thing writers want is to hammer out an agreement for new media. Most analysts suspect that there will eventually be some way to "monetize" the internet, and writers want their share.

Here's my question. Doesn't the reasoning behind their two demands seem somewhat contradictory? Since the future of DVD sales was highly uncertain, WGA locked in a lesser rate in exchange for more tangible concessions. Isn't WGA about to repeat that same mistake with new media?


The Law Talking Guy said...

I disagree with Dr. S. If no deal had been made on DVDs earlier, writers would have nothing. Now they should renegotiate because DVDs are worth more. The same logic applies to the internet. Get something now. Then negotiate for more if it turns out to be more profitable.

Dr. Strangelove said...

My fear is that writers will not be able to increase DVD residuals much now... that they might have been able to get a better deal now if they had not fixed a nominal level ahead of time that set the bar too low.

Raised By Republicans said...

How successful was the last writers' strike?

It seems to me that the reality TV gimick that got the production companies through that one won't work as well twice.

I think we can all agree that most reality TV ideas have official jumped the shark.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Actually, the last writers' strike was in 1988, and I don't think "reality TV" took off until at least 1990.

There is no doubt that public support in LA for writers is fairly strong. That's interesting for the labor movement. And dangerous if they fail.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Alas, I cannot agree with RbR's assessment of reality shows. I have friends who work on them and--regardless of our opinion of the shows, and they often share it--orders and jobs are going way up because of the strike.