After nearly five months of picketing, protesting and negotiating, Hollywood writers have finally reached a tentative deal with the major studios and streaming services to end their historic strike. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced the agreement on Sunday night, calling it “exceptional” and “meaningful” for its members.
The Deal Details
The WGA did not disclose the full details of the deal, but said it would present them to its board and members for approval on Tuesday. According to Variety, the deal includes:
- A significant increase in residuals for streaming platforms, which have become the dominant source of revenue for the industry.
- A new formula for determining writers’ compensation based on the viewership and budget of streaming shows, instead of the outdated fixed-fee model.
- A commitment from the studios to address the issue of artificial intelligence and its potential impact on writers’ work and rights.
- A reduction in the span of exclusivity clauses that prevent writers from working on multiple projects at the same time.
- A boost in the employer contributions to the WGA health and pension plans.
The WGA said the deal was made possible by the “enduring solidarity” of its members and the “extraordinary support” of other unions, celebrities and fans who joined them on the picket lines.
The Strike Impact
The writers strike, which began on May 1, 2023, was one of the longest and most disruptive in Hollywood history. It affected more than 12,000 writers and halted the production of hundreds of films and TV shows, costing the California economy an estimated $3.5 billion.
The strike also exposed the deep rifts between the writers and the studios over how to share the profits from the booming streaming market, which has transformed the entertainment landscape in recent years. The writers argued that they were being underpaid and exploited by the studios, who were reaping huge benefits from their work without giving them a fair share.
The strike also raised awareness about the potential threats of artificial intelligence to writers’ creativity and livelihoods. The WGA accused some studios of using AI tools to generate scripts, analyze data and replace human writers. The union demanded that any use of AI be transparent and respectful of writers’ rights.
The Actors Strike Continues
While the writers strike is poised to end soon, another major labor dispute in Hollywood remains unresolved. The actors union, SAG-AFTRA, has been on strike since July 1, 2023, over similar issues as the writers, such as streaming residuals, exclusivity clauses and health care.
The actors strike has also affected thousands of workers and projects across the industry, including some of the most popular and anticipated films and shows. The actors have received support from many writers, directors and producers, who have refused to cross their picket lines.
However, unlike the writers, the actors have not resumed talks with the studios since August. The AMPTP, which represents the studios, has accused the actors of making “unrealistic” and “unprecedented” demands that would harm the industry. The actors have rejected this claim and said they are fighting for a fair deal that reflects their contributions and value.
There is no clear indication of when or how the actors strike will end, but both sides have expressed their willingness to return to the bargaining table if there is a chance for a productive dialogue.