The coalition representing Hollywood studios and streaming services made what it believes to be its best offer to striking writers Tuesday evening, releasing the terms of its latest contract in the hopes of persuading the Writers Guild of America to accept the deal.
Among the concessions the studios said they offered are a guaranteed minimum length of employment, controls around the use of generative artificial intelligence, wage and residuals increases and quarterly reports on viewing hours per title for streaming shows.
The move came after a Tuesday evening face-to-face meeting between industry executives and the leadership of the WGA. The strike is approaching its fourth month and if a deal isn’t reached soon, the 2023-2024 television season and many high-profile movies are likely to be delayed or scrapped altogether.
“We have come to the table with an offer that meets the priority concerns the writers have expressed. We are deeply committed to ending the strike and are hopeful that the WGA will work toward the same resolution,” said Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
The alliance, which represents major entertainment companies including Disney, Warner Bros., Netflix, Amazon and Paramount, said its latest offer addresses “all of the issues” the writers identified as major priorities.
Netflix co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos said the company and other streaming platforms, studios and networks were “super committed” to reaching a deal with striking Hollywood actors and writers. Photo: Chris Delmas/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images (Published July 20)
Executives at the meeting, which was held at the Luxe Hotel in Brentwood, included Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos and NBCUniversal Studio Group Chair Donna Langley, according to a person familiar with the gathering.
In an email to members Tuesday night, the WGA criticized the offer as inadequate. “This wasn’t a meeting to make a deal. This was a meeting to get us to cave,” and turn against each other, the union wrote.
The WGA said it explained in the meeting why the offer fell short and told studio and streamer leaders that the proposal “failed to sufficiently protect writers from the existential threats that caused us to strike in the first place.” The union said it plans to continue picketing Wednesday.
Talks between the WGA and AMPTP restarted on Aug. 11, creating a sense of hope in the industry that the two sides could come to an agreement that could clear the way for a deal with the Screen Actors Guild, which went on strike in July.
Instead, frustration ensued with both sides grumbling privately that the other wasn’t committed to making a fair deal. The studios initially planned to release the details of their offer last Friday, but held off in the hopes that the WGA would take the proposal to its members to vote on.
Releasing the offer means that members of the WGA—not just their negotiating committee—will see what the studios, streamers and networks are offering. Some members of the AMPTP hope that if their offer is seen as compelling by a significant amount of the membership some it will create tension within the union.
In touting its offer, the AMPTP said it includes a compound 13% wage increase over the three-year contract. In addition, there is a 15% bump for writers who also serve as producers on a television show in the first year of the new deal.
It is also offering a 21.5% jump in worldwide residuals for high-budget streaming shows.
The group said it would agree to a WGA request regarding minimum staffing and a guaranteed length of employment for writers, though its offer included fewer guaranteed writing jobs than what the writers sought.
In offering to share additional data on how shows fared confidentially on a quarterly basis, the studios said writers would be able to develop proposals to restructure streaming residuals in the future.
On the hot-button issue of using artificial intelligence, the AMPTP said it is providing safeguards to protect writers from being disadvantaged if the studio uses generative AI for any part of a script. Writers’ compensation, credit and rights won’t be affected by that use.
Write to Joe Flint at Joe.Flint@wsj.com
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Appeared in the August 23, 2023, print edition as 'Studios Disclose New Offer To Writers'.