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‘Progress’ In Talk Between Hollywood Producers and Writers; WGA Calls It ‘Massive Rollback’

Looks like some progress in the Hollywood talks between producers and writers: “The AMPTP today unveiled a New Economic Partnership to the WGA, which includes groundbreaking moves in several areas of new media, including streaming, content made for new media and programming delivered over digital broadcast channels,” according to an official statement, posted on DHD. More to come…

Update: One reason we’re hearing so much about this tonight is the sides ended a press blackout. The AMPTP says its new proposal presented today “will deliver more than $130 million in additional compensation above and beyond the more than $1.3 billion writers already receive each year.” The studio/network group said it would prefer to continue discussions but the WGA asked for time to study the proposal so talks are tabled until Dec. 4.

WGA: The writers’ statement offers some details along with the rhetoric: more after the jump…

— They agree it’s a new proposal but say it “dealt only with streaming and made-for-Internet jurisdiction, and it amounts to a massive rollback.”

Streaming television episodes: the proposed residual structure is “a single fixed payment of less than $250 for a year’s reuse of an hour-long program (compared to over $20,000 payable for a network rerun).

Theatrical: no streaming residuals.

Made for internet: “… minimums that would allow a studio to produce up to a 15-minute episode of network-derived web content for a script fee of $1,300.” No jurisdiction over original content.

No move on downloads: They “continue to assert that they can deem any reuse ‘promotional,’ and pay no residual (even if they replay the entire film or TV episode and even if they make money).”

The WGA says it offered “a comprehensive economic justification for our proposals” Wednesday; the WGA package would cost $151 million over three years — 3-plu percent in earnings each year compared with projected company growth of 10 percent annually.

Deadline Hollywood: Nikki Finke’s source says, “This is the day it shook loose.” Her sources also say the WGA’s request to table discussions until next Tuesday caught the companies by surprise “because their negotiating team was ‘ready to keep bargaining through the weekend.'”
Finke: “But let’s not be overly optimistic or naive, either. The big questions now are: Are these truly ‘new’ proposals or just newly packaged ‘old’ proposals? And are they good enough to get this strike settled by Christmas? Let’s hope…”