Why Hollywood’s Writers’ and Actors’ Strike Matters (And What Streaming Has To Do With It)

September 18, Emmy, the most important American (and therefore worldwide) television award. Instead, they were rescheduled for January due to the strike, which took a toll on Hollywood. A fate common to many other television “shows”. Among the series that have been put on hold and will be delayed are, writes Ap: American Horror Story, Big mouth, Daredevil: Reborn, Emily in Paris, Family Guy, FBI: Most Wanted, Grey’s Anatomy, Last of us, Law and order, Sexual life of female students, very strange things AND yellow jacketsJust to name a few.

The same fate for many films that will be postponed to next spring or even 2025: Deadpool 3, Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning, Part 2, beetle juice, gladiator 2, Lilo and Stitch, Mortal Kombat, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. It’s still: Dunes II, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Godzilla x Kong: New Empire, The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrimalong with the remake Karate kidto continue Dirty Dancing and a new film by Brad Pitt (as yet untitled and on hold).

This is the reason for the delay. joint strike about 11,000 film and television writers who are members of the Writers Guild of America (Wga, their main union), this has been going on for 4 monthsand 65,000 Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra) actors who refrain from work already a month and a half. The last writers’ strike, dated 2007-2008, lasted “only” three months. And only since 1960, screenwriters and writers have been on strike together.

The most “spectacular” cause for protest is the conflict over the use of artificial intelligence for writing scripts, which has been talked about a lot. But the strike is connected primarily with the impact of streaming services on the economic model of series and films. And with the so-calledleftovers”, residual payments – that is, royalties – paid to actors and screenwriters for reruns of series or films they have worked on. Typically, actors and screenwriters are paid every time a film or series airs on television, or when someone buys a DVD or (formerly) a videotape, and this mechanism is an important source of their income. Payments due decrease over time and are partly related to the value of the writers and actors’ original contract. As the agency Ap explains, Streaming also grants rights to actors and writers, but very low. And given that today it is an increasingly important channel for the distribution of worksThe unions are asking for a review of the method of calculating these payments, taking into account the new evolution of distribution technology.

Series Suits for example, originally broadcast on the USA Network between 2011 and 2019 (also known because it plays Meghan Markle), found unexpected success on Netflix, where it became one of the most viewed content. But Ethan Drogin, one of the writers, told the Los Angeles Times that success benefited almost only Netflix and the production company.

“It doesn’t matter if the show you helped create generates 3.1 billion minutes watched per week on Netflix and Peacock NBC Universal, setting a Nielsen record. It doesn’t matter if this show is in the 40% of Netflix’s top 10. $259.71: That’s how much an episode costs Suits which i wrote, identity crisis, the latest quarter in terms of broadcast rights. Overall for the last quarter NBCUniversal paid six writers from the original film. Suits less than $3,000 for streaming of the 11 episodes of the first season on two platforms. Of course, it’s nice that this summer the series found a new and larger audience on Netflix. Every writer and actor hopes that his work will last a long time. And yes, I’m grateful that I visited the engine room Suits eight of the nine seasons. But $259.71 to write a show for such a huge audience? Therefore, writers and actors are on strike,” writes Drogin.

Actors are also paid much less for streaming reruns.. While for those who watch traditional television, the actors Friends (for example) they received millions of dollars. Added to all this are doubts about the profitability of streaming services: until last year, only Netflix made money. Warner Bros. Discovery first reported a $50 million profit in the second quarter of this year, while Disney managed to cut its streaming loss by $659 million from $887 million.

Finding an agreement to pay out streaming balances is also much more difficult than it might seem. due to the lack of transparency inherent in this type of service. “Data transparency is about power. This is a power struggle. Because now streamers have power and they don’t want to give it up. They have data on the cost of the works, and they exploit them without paying the creators their cost for the second, third and fourth seasons, because the creators do not know how much the show costs, because they do not have the data, ”says David Offenberg, associate professor of the department finance show at Loyola Marymount University on Deadline, an information site about the world of the American television industry. “Any concessions from studios on this front will likely require some data transparency. Until now, streamers have kept their audience data private., sometimes self-announcing those indicators that they consider appropriate. Netflix is ​​the only service that consistently reports audience data but doesn’t provide full data transparency,” adds Deadline.

Moreover, even the transparency of the numbers may not be enough, given that the same data can be valued differently. “When it comes to streaming success, There are two types of series or movies: those that attract subscribers and those that retain them.. For each title, the research collects a variety of data, including hours viewed globally/USA, the number of unique accounts that viewed the title, and the completion percentage for each account. Also, try to determine how much attention the show is getting and how successful it is in reducing the dropout rate. While all of these elements could theoretically be used to determine the financial success of a show, they are all likely to give different answers. It is likely that each study values ​​one more than the other. which would prevent any agreement on a single metric”explains Deadline. As it happens more and more often in every sector of the economy, real power increasingly lies in control of digital data. And the game for actors and screenwriters has just begun.

This article was originally published in the newsletter Rassegna del Corriere. To get it you can register here courier.it/newsletter/

September 2, 2023

Source link

Leave a Comment