Producers Set For Rough WGA Negotiations

Jul 11, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Not wanting to add “bolt-ons to an older train,” the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) is looking for a reworking to the residual model of payment as it sits down with the Writers Guild of America for contract negotiations next week.
New media was the concern as CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, Warner Brothers CEO Barry Meyer, Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney and AMPTP president J. Nicholas Counter sat down with the press at the AMPTP’s headquarters in Encino today to talk about pre-negotiations with the WGA, whose contract is set to expire on October 31.
The AMPTP’s proposal involves working with the WGA, the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America to conduct a three year study about the new media landscape in order decide a different formula of compensation, one not based on re-use of features or shows.
“We don’t want to saddle a new industry with an extension of outmoded concepts…that were formulated at a different time,” Mr. Meyer said.
Regarding new media and the networks, “It is a time of experimentation,” Mr. Moonves said.
Mr. Counter said that it would be “foolhardy” to consider a survey that would be conducted over a shorter span of time, such as three months, as it would be too early to tell how new media is going to affect viewers.
He suggests that the survey is the “intelligent” thing the WGA can do, but is pessimistic about the proceedings.
“We’re preparing for the worst,” he said. He added that this contract is the most complex contract negotiation he has ever faced in his career.
The WGA responded to the meeting in a statement from John F. Bowman, chair of the WGA’s 2007 Negotiating Committee.
“Our proposals will be fair to writers and to the industry. What we are seeking over a three-year contract is about what a couple of failed executives get every year in severance packages,” Mr. Bowman said.
“The companies have made hundreds of deals in the new media arena over the past year, which proves that they do have viable business models. We don’t need a study, we need a fair share for writers of the revenue our work generates.”
(Editor: Romanelli)


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