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Summary:

Possibly nearing a conclusion of the ongoing writers’ strike, the Writers Guild of America has released the terms (PDF) of a proposed agreement for the review of its members. A particularly contentious topic, according to United Hollywood, is the proposed window before residuals kick in: 17 […]

Possibly nearing a conclusion of the ongoing writers’ strike, the Writers Guild of America has released the terms (PDF) of a proposed agreement for the review of its members. A particularly contentious topic, according to United Hollywood, is the proposed window before residuals kick in: 17 days, or 24 days in certain cases such as the first season of a series.

This is a key point in the negotiations that was at least partially resolved last weekend. Under the proposal, writers will receive a fixed fee for the first two years after the contract is signed and 2 percent of gross in the third year. The fee is $654 for a hour program and $360 for a half-hour program in the first year, and $654 for an hour program and $373 for a half-hour program in the second year. (You might have seen people quoting $1,200 as the two-year payment, which comes from summing up the hour-long figures.)

Also, we have our answer on how much a webisode should cost, that is if you want the WGA contract to cover it. The proposed contract says content made for new media should cost at least $15,000 per minute, $300,000 per program, or $500,000 per series order to be covered.

Chris had found in a survey of web shows that “A good starting point to create a web series, according to a number of producers we asked, is about $1,000 dollar per finished minute.” This is more in line with quarterlife (the program has never officially confirmed its cost, but creator Marshall Herskovitz told us in a recent interview it is “very expensive”) or Sanctuary (which cost $4 million for 135 minutes). Prom Queen, which cost $3,000 per 90 second episode, wouldn’t qualify by that standard.

comScore on Friday for the first time definitively attributed an increase in online video viewers to the strike, using December figures. Americans watched more than 10 billion online videos in December, up 7 percent from 9.5 billion in November, which was the first month of the strike.

“December represented a considerably strong month for online video viewing,” said Erin Hunter, comScore executive vice president of media and entertainment. “With the writer’s strike keeping new TV episodes from reaching the airwaves, viewers have been seeking alternatives for fresh content. It appears that online video is stepping in to help fill that void.”

  1. The problem with ComScore’s reasoning on the online video viewing increase being attributable to the strike is that this December wasn’t really programmed any differently than previous Decembers. Sure, there were more reruns in December than there were in November, but there always are more reruns in December.

    If you look at our chart of year/year viewership except for Fox [which got an early boost because of baseball] there was no decrease in broadcast TV viewership because of the strike.

    Since broadcast TV programming hadn’t changed and the viewership hadn’t changed, the idea that the web video increase was due to the strike is silly.

    http://tvbythenumbers.com/2008/02/06/the-strike-effect-through-february-3-2008/2593

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  2. I should have said there was no decrease in year/year viewership from November to December, so no obvious effect of the strike during that period.

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  3. Hey Bill G,

    In the piece you link to you say ABC is down 5% “showing definite strike damage” – can you explain how that lines up with your comments here?

    I do think there is a good chance comScore is saying what people want to hear. When I get a chance I’ll look at the relative increase in web video numbers, but that may not be so simple because those numbers are incomplete and only started being released last year.

    Liz

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  4. Liz, When I say that ABC is down 5% in that post I linked to, I meant that as of Feb 3 season to date they had dropped an additional 5% from their y/y pre-strike level in Oct/Nov which was down about 2-3%.

    The reason we initiated those charts was all the talk about “the strike has really hammered ratings this year”, when in fact, ratings had already been hammered for most of the networks before the strike had any effect at all.

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  5. [...] looking more and more likely that an end to the writers’ strike is imminent. Under the terms of the proposed contract, web shows that cost a lot to produce and/or come from professional writers will be covered. Hey [...]

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  6. [...] writers’ strike is estimated to have cost the Los Angeles economy $2 billion. The writers didn’t quite get what they wanted, but they managed to set a precedent for receiving at least a small share of revenues from [...]

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  7. [...] Just as we were starting to pick up the oldteevee pieces in the wake of the crippling writers’ strike, the actors guilds have started contract negotiations with Hollywood studios. If they go on strike, [...]

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  8. [...] deal with the writers, it’s no surprise that NBC is relying so heavily on UGC (hello, 17 days for free!). Still it’s nice to see the network move beyond just repurposing the video [...]

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  9. [...] media continues to be a sticking point between the two sides. SAG isn’t satisfied with the web deal worked out by the writers and directors and is looking to shrink the amount of time studios get to [...]

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  10. [...] NewTeeVee recuerda su investigación de los costes medios de producir una serie “profesional” para la red, concluyendo que el rango de aplicación habitual se encuentra entre los 1.000 y los 3.000 dólares por minuto. ¿Es una suerte que la producción para la web quede fuera de las complicadas relaciones que los sindicatos del audiovisual americano suelen imponer en aquélla industria? Lo que es evidente es que el WGA se ha asegurado que las grandes producciones que puedan surgir en el futuro estarán cubiertas, pero que toda la experimentación actual no está condicionada y, sobre todo, no se ve sometida a la necesidad de un control extenso de dónde termina una producción en la red como las que ahora se están viendo. [...]

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