The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) are currently in negotiations for a new contract, and tensions are high on both sides. The WGA, which represents thousands of writers in the television and film industries, is seeking improved working conditions and better compensation for its members.
The AMPTP, which represents major studios and production companies, is pushing back on the demands, citing financial constraints and a need for flexibility in the ever-changing entertainment landscape. As the negotiations continue, the outcome will have a significant impact on the future of the entertainment industry, and the relationship between writers and producers.
So what's the state of Hollywood as we know it?
WGA Negotiating Committee member and writer Eric Haywood explains what's going on in Hollywood and why you should care.
Check out this video from the WGA West and let's talk after.
The State of the Industry Explained by the WGA
Haywood begins the video by saying that every three years, Hollywood studios talk about how the industry is in disarray and it's hard to turn a profit. But is that true? No, most of these stories are spread to disempower labor and are rarely challenged by the trade magazines and websites we all read.
The fact is, the industry revenue has risen from $150 billion in 2013 to $220 billion in 2023. Streaming revenue is driving this, and profits grew, too. In 2000, profits were $5 billion. In 2021, they were close to $30 billion. In just five years, companies went from spending $5 billion on streaming in 2019 to an estimated $19 billion in 2023.
That growth is staggering and doesn't even count the money spent on traditional models that then have movies and shows that wind up on the platform anyway.
So, we're looking at over $100 billion in profits over the last decade.
You’d Think Some of This Money Made Its Way to Writers... Right?
In the last decade, budgets for streaming shows have risen by 50%, but the average TV writer's income has dropped by 4% over the same time period. If you factor in inflation, weekly income has dropped 23%! Ten years ago, 33% of TV writers worked for a guild minimum, now it's close to 50%.
In features, screenwriter pay has stagnated.
Typical writer pay has declined 14% in the last five years, and that pay is stretched over time with endless begging for free work. Writers' lives have become more precarious, and we're being asked for free work left and right.
Let me know what you think in the comments.
Source: WGA West