The current Hollywood writers contract will expire without a deal tonight as negotiations hit a roadblock over DVD and online residual payments.
The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers took a hardline stance in today’s negotiations, saying they would not continue talks unless the Writers Guild of America leadership dropped their demands for increasing DVD residuals—including online download-to-own.
“The companies believe that movement is possible on other issues, but they cannot make any movement when confronted with your continuing efforts to increase the DVD formula, including the formula for electronic sell-through,” AMPTP president Nick Counter said in a statement to the WGA. “No further movement is possible to close the gap between us so long as your DVD proposal remains on the table.”
The Writers Guild of America negotiating committee blasted the move as “completely unacceptable.”
“The AMPTP brought negotiations to a halt,” said the WGA in a statement. “This morning we presented the AMPTP with a comprehensive package of proposals that included movement on DVDs, new media and jurisdictional issues. We also took nine proposals off the table. The companies returned six hours later and said they would not respond to our package until we capitulated to their Internet demand.”
The parties had resumed negotiations earlier today with the assistance of a federal mediator. Writers submitted their new proposals. Though the details of the proposals were not released, negotiations hung on after-market residuals, with the AMPTP calling it a DVD issue and the WGA emphasizing the online download-to-own aspect.
No talks are scheduled for Thursday. The WGA issued a statement noting there will be a meeting with members Thursday night.