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Hollywood Writers Closer To Striking Over Online Compensation

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A longstanding dispute between TV studios and guild writers over compensation for online distribution will come to a head over the coming month, possibly resulting in a major strike. The LA Times looks at where the issue stands today, which, as it happens, is exactly where the issue has stood for quite a while now. The studios see online distribution as a way to unshackle themselves from the agreements they made with the union in the past, while the unions fear that writers will be shortchanged under the new model, unless new rules are established.

One point of contention is whether online video is considered to be promotional, or whether it’s a product in its own right. If it’s merely promotional, as the studios maintain, then writers aren’t entitled to residual compensation for it. Not surprisingly, the writers think this is hogwash, and that the distinction meaningless, a reasonable stance considering the proliferation of long-form, paid and ad-supported video from the networks.

Ultimately, the two sides will have to close the gulf between them fairly soon, since neither can afford a major work stoppage. Stay tuned.