Writer’s Strike Parties Talking, Not Agreeing

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The two parties in the writer’s strike are celebrating an advance in talks — or more accurately, the fact that they’re talking at all. Yesterday the Writer’s Guild of America “presented its much-anticipated proposal for streamed-content compensation to the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, and the parties batted the subject back and forth for a few hours”. So far the two parties have come closest to agreeing on how to pay writers when content is streamed on an ad-supported basis, with the difficult part the compensation for paid-for downloads, reports Hollywood Reporter.

For streaming, the WGA proposed “X bucks a year for X number of streams. And starting very reasonably for a low number of streams. Every time the number of views reaches a certain threshold, the compensation bumps up into the next tier” reports Deadline Hollywood. The WGA has put a breakdown of the cost of its proposals here, and claims the counterproposal by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers would leave them worse off — but that includes an estimate for not getting paid when their content is used for promotional purposes.

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T. Adam Martin

CAVEAT: I hate adverbs.

"Since 2000, entertainment segment revenue for our employers has grown from $63 billion to $95 billion. That's a robust 51 percent increase. But as they've experienced this tremendous revenue growth, WGA members have actually fallen behind. While entertainment segment revenue has grown at an annual rate of 7 percent over the last 7 years, writers' earnings and residuals have grown only 3.5 percent. That means we are barely keeping up with inflation."

It's disappointing to see the use of absolute values instead of normative values in this public relations battle. The WGA mentions the fact that revenues are growing at 7% over the last 7 years, but throws in the absolute percentage change (51%) to cloud the issue.

What the WGA fails to address is the primary focus of the Income Statement: Net Income. Revenue growth as a metric is meaningless unless paired with some other key data like Cost of Goods Sold and more importantly the Net Income the industry is taking as a whole.

In reference to my caveat earlier, the use of the term "barely" to make the statement regarding inflation is the worst form of qualitative detritus of the mouth.

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