September 29, 2023

American screenwriters end nearly five-month strike.

Trend Analysis
Szymon Karbowski
American screenwriters end nearly five-month strike.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has reached a tentative agreement with the major film studios and streaming platforms. After 148 days on strike, American screenwriters returned to work last Wednesday.

The contract, which includes pay rises and safeguards around the use of artificial intelligence, is still awaiting approval. 

The strike began in May this year. Film and TV writers have walked out after failing to reach agreements with major studios and streaming platforms such as Warner Bros. Discovery, Walt Disney and Netflix. A preliminary agreement was reached only this Sunday, and the WGA has decided to bring the writers back to work before the final contract is voted on. WGA members have until 9 October to vote on the proposed contract.  

The main terms of the three-year agreement have already been outlined. Over the next three years, the minimum wage will increase by 12.5%. Rules and deadlines were also agreed for the payment of salaries and the number of staff employed depending on the number of episodes per season in a production. Residual fees for using movies and TV shows outside the US will also be increased. Films and series that are watched by 20% of their subscribers within 90 days of their premiere on a given streaming platform will receive viewership-based streaming bonuses of 50% of the fixed domestic and international residual. 

In addition, the agreement requires studios to meet with the Writers Guild at least twice a year to discuss plans to use AI to generate content. Every screenwriter must be informed by the studio if material submitted to them has been generated by AI. A screenwriter will be able to file a lawsuit if his or her work is used in the training of an artificial intelligence. Creators will be able to choose whether or not to use AI during script development, but no company will be able to force them to do so. According to the agreement, artificial intelligence cannot write or rewrite literary material.

According to the striking writers' representatives, the studios and streaming platforms cannot make money without them, and they must take their needs into account and give them what they deserve. WGA members believe that this agreement will succeed in securing profits and protecting members in all sectors of the industry. 

Daytime and late-night talk shows are returning to screens, and viewers will see new episodes of their favorite shows. However, it is important to remember that we will have to wait a long time for a return to so-called 'total normality' once the agreement is finally voted through. After all, the Screen Actors Guild has been on strike in Hollywood since July. It could take weeks to resolve the conflict and meet their even higher expectations.

#SzymonKarbowski #StreamVX #WGA #screenwriters #WGAStrong #wgacontract2023

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