WGA And Producers Squabbling Over $20 Million

The WGA strike goes on. The positive news is that it appear both sides are starting to make some concessions… but there’s still no deal. How far apart are they? A measly $20 million according to the Associated Press.

The Producers Association made an offer to the writers that would have seen $130 million extra dollars being paid to the writers over the next 3 years. The WGA put together an offer that they say would have them getting about $151 million more over the same time period. So in just pure dollar values, they’re only about 13% apart. For Pete’s sake just split the frigging difference and call it a day people!

One of the main sticking points is how money gets paid out for the new media streams (internet). The WGA appears to want a solid system in place, but David W. Rips, director of Deloitte Consulting’s media and entertainment practice says:

At this point, there isn’t enough information about digital distribution’s value to “have a legitimate negotiation” on compensation, he said. Rips suggested the studios’ offer was an attempt to shift the decision a few years to a better-informed future.

I think Rips is correct. FACT: The internet is making money for the Producers right now and therefore (if you’re going to accept a pitifully outdated and flawed residual system) the WGA should get some of that. BUT, the Producers are sort of correct in saying the medium is too new and unstable (it’s changing every week) to lock down a bona-fide accounting and residual system for it. The Producers seem to want to pay a flat amount and then re-visit the issue again in 3 years when the internet distribution picture becomes a lot more clear. I can’t say I disagree with them.

Sorry, but if the Associated Press has this right… then on this one isolated issue I have to side with the Producers. The internet distribution model is a rapidly changing one at this point and to set a solid residual system in place right now makes no sense. Give it a few years, and in the meantime, figure out another TEMPORARY way to ensure the writer’s also get compensation in the interim.

Maybe $130 million is too low, maybe $150 million is too high… but for heaven’s sake you two are close enough that a deal must be makable. GET IT DONE!

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