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WGA Strike


The Writers Guild of America (WGA) recently ended a 148 day strike. It took a lot of negotiating and hundreds of picket lines but they finally came to an agreement on September 25th of this year. Although the WGA has come to a settlement, the entire Actors Guild and a handful of VFX studios for various companies are striking.
This mass strike of Hollywood staff is nothing new. The writers have been striking since 1960 and the actors since 1952.
Reasons for striking vary but typically come with a new innovation in technology. For their 2023 strike, the WGA had many reasons to demand more pay, with the prominent ones being AI and lower cuts from streaming services. Although the Writers are in the clear for now, actors and many VFX artists are still working on making an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Although it was the longest, the 2023 WGA strike was not the first. In 2008 the WGA went on strike over a similar issue with a demand for higher residuals in streamed content. The writers wanted to be paid similarly to DVD sales which they received a much higher payment from.
On cable there was a payment method titled residuals. If a performer appears in the final cut of a production they could be entitled to residuals. After a TV show or movie has reached the end of its initial release.
A network pays a certain amount of money to the people who worked on the show in exchange for the broadcasting rights to the production. The amount networks pay varies depending on if it aired prime time or if there are a lot of people watching. The time they are paid in, also varies. They are usually paid from 30 days to four months after it has been aired. To receive residuals they also must be a member of their associated guild and a principal performer. A principal performer usually is a performer with lines but they could also be a stunt worker or dancer, etc (so not background actors).
Modern streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Max, and Disney have to give residuals too, but these ones are success based since the viewer chooses what to watch and how long to watch it.
The problem with this is that the studios don’t release the numbers for how many people watch their shows each month because it’s probably less than stockholders think and their company’s stock price will plummet because of it.
But since they are not releasing the numbers there is no way to know the residuals are accurate. So in the new deal the streamers need to release the numbers for their shows to provide accurate residuals. The WGA says this new agreement will create 233 million dollars in value a year, to all guild members

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