The Deal

Well, it seems like the WGA and AMPTP may be on a verge of a deal, after months of a strike. I suspect that the AMPTP wants to push the deal through because they are about to lose any chance at a pilot season, and a number of shows are faltering thanks to lack of new content. It seems like a lot of WGA members are eager to get back to work as well, and many of them are feeling good about the deal.

Personally, I want to see a vote before a work authorization, and I think that a lot of people do, so I hope that a vote does go through. You can read a summary of the basic proposed points in the deal (.pdf, sorry!), if you want, to get an idea of what’s on the table for writers. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out United Hollywood.

I think one thing that the writer’s strike has really illustrated is the role of “new media” in the broadcast world, and because of that, I’m disappointed by the 17 day window. The 17 day window, for those of you not following the negotiations, allows networks to air shows online for 17 days before they have to pay writers. However, after this period, writers start getting residuals, and residuals are also kicking in on downloads. This is good. It would be better if writers were getting residuals for the first 17 days that their shows are up, though.

Here’s why. Most people watch online content within a week of the time it airs. Because most people want to catch an episode before the next one airs. To keep pace with the plot, for example, and to avoid getting spoiled. Now, some people certainly do go through archives (I do, for example), and some people actually prefer to watch several episodes at once rather than one a week, and these people will fuel some residuals for writers. But I would like to see some hard numbers on who watches what when, because from my vantage point, this whole 17 day deal seems pretty bunky to me, since the networks will be making bank on the ads.

The writers’ strike has also illustrated the need for strong advocates for labour. It’s a great pity that organized labor is dying in this country, because it means that people can’t stand up for their rights. And when you can’t stand up for your rights, they tend to disappear.