WGA Bulletin Assails Networks

Jul 12, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Seeking to consolidate support from its members on the eve of labor contract negotiations with networks and studios, the Writers Guild of America is mailing a bulletin to members emphasizing the profitability of media companies.
A copy of the bulletin, obtained in advance by TelevisionWeek, reiterates the WGA contention that writers deserve a share of new-media revenue, an issue that promises to slow negotiations.
“With increased viewers and ad dollars on the Internet, we must secure our future,” wrote John Bowman, chairman of the WGA negotiating committee.
With eight charts showing rising entertainment revenue—including conglomerates Disney, CBS, Time Warner, Viacom, News Corp. and NBC Universal—the guild leadership is readying members for what could be a long slog at the negotiating table, and possibly even a strike.
“As you can see … the companies can certainly afford to sit down with us at the bargaining table and treat writers like valued strategic partners,” Mr. Bowman wrote. “Instead, the public statements and histories of the [network and studio] representatives seem to indicate they won’t deal straight with us without a fight.”
Employers have countered they want to launch a three-year study of the economics of new media and possibly throw out the current residual system altogether.
On Monday both parties will commence negotiations to renew the WGA’s three-year contract, which expires Oct. 31.
The WGA’s “Contract Bulletin” newsletter is described as the first in a series of upcoming mailings to keep members informed of the leadership’s point of view during negotiations.
The portrayals of the entertainment employers’ financial status fits squarely into the guild’s strategy of showing that its contract demand for a share of new-media profits is reasonable.
“There is growth in almost every single measure of economic performance, including gross revenues in every segment, excellent operating profits and rising share prices for all six [major entertainment] companies,” wrote WGA chief negotiator David Young. “This is good news for writers and other members of the talent community.”
(Editor: Horowitz)

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)