Another day, another rollback.

Well, the first round of the restarted talks has finished.
Reportage at Deadline Hollywood, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety.

It’s another joke offer. Let’s crunch the numbers:

The studios are offering a fee of $250 to put a TV show on the Internet for a year. And that’s after six weeks “promotional” use, during which they would still sell ads in the show, paying nothing at all.

(To put this into context: a cinema release loses 46% of its audience from the first week of release to the second week of release. The value of a narrative repeat drops very quickly indeed after the initial showing.)

The studios currently pay $21,078 to the writer for the first repeat on one of the big networks.
source – PDF

So, if the network streams a show on the Internet instead of repeating it, they save over $20,000 in payments to the writer.


This figure becomes even larger every time they drop another repeat off network TV because people can see it on the Internet instead.

Let’s just look at that again.

If we accept this deal, we lose money.

All this before we even look at the other things the AMPTP are so generously offering us. Like, for example:

  • No residuals for showing a cinema film on the Internet
  • WGA not to ever get involved in any negotiations on made-for-Internet content


Now, I’m sure that this is just another negotiating tactic. Here is our ridiculous offer, what’s that, you don’t accept it? You bad bad people. Here is our slightly less ridiculous offer. And so on, and so on, kicking and screaming all the way until finally they agree with bad grace to something we can all live with.

But you know what, AMPTP?

Putting a ridiculous offer that we can in no way accept on the table does not make you look like a smart negotiator.

It makes you look like an asshat.

Please come back with something serious on Tuesday.

3 responses to “Another day, another rollback.”

  1. That is such an insult!

    Forget the momey for the moment, but the bit about the Writers’ Guild promising not to get involved in anything writers do for the internet. That beggars belief.

    I bet you there’s small print after the word internet that says “[by ‘internet’ we mean any and all mediums of communications other than books, television, radio and cinema currently or hereafter invented in the United States of America, the world or any part of the universe currently or hereafter existing, in perpetuity and backdated to 1776 or the dawn of time whichever is earlier. By ‘books, television, radio and cinema’ we expressly refer to the content distributed through such technologies at their current state of development. Any future development of such mediums of communication shall be deemed to be ‘internet’ for the purposes of this agreement.]

  2. Maybe the WGA should establish an internet contract right now for companies who only intend to work on the internet.

    That would outflank the AMPTP in the arena they want to control but at the moment — don’t.

  3. Jim: It’s already starting to happen.

    And I’m sure it’ll happen more as time passes – but even for Internet, it’s important to get a basis for collective bargaining on this rather than negotiating individually with the Internet producers.

    And maybe Andreessen’s right and the strike will lead to Hollywood being rebuilt in the image of Silicon Valley.

    But it’s important to get collective bargaining established for these things now; and as of right now that means getting it in the MBA; and as of right now that means negotiating with the AMPTP.

    (All this as soon as they’re willing to actually, you know, negotiate.)

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