*New offer on new media

In what could at least stir things around in the impasse between writers and the big media companies, the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers is proposing a "New Economic Partnership" that's supposed to offer more than $130 million in additional compensation for streaming, content made for new media and programming delivered over digital broadcast channels. Now it's devil-in-the-details time; the Writers Guild wants a few days to study the proposal, which apparently was made this afternoon. Contract talks are scheduled to resume next Tuesday. Here's the statement:

"The AMPTP today unveiled a New Economic Partnership to the WGA, which includes groundbreaking moves in several areas of new media, including streaming, content made for new media and programming delivered over digital broadcast channels. The entire value of the New Economic Partnership will deliver more than $130 million in additional compensation above and beyond the more than $1.3 billion writers already receive each year. In response, the WGA has asked for time to study the proposals. While we we strongly preferred to continue discussions, we respect and understand the WGA's desire to review the proposals. We look forward resuming talks on Tuesday, December 4. We continue to believe that there is common ground to be found between the two sides, and that our proposal for a New Economic Partnership offers the best chance to find it."

*Update: Well, so much for breakthroughs. Writers Guild President Patric Verrone issued a response to the producers' "Economic Partnership." Let's just say he didn't like it the offer. Here's a sample:

Thursday morning, the first new proposal was finally presented to us. It dealt only with streaming and made-for-Internet jurisdiction, and it amounts to a massive rollback. For streaming television episodes, the companies proposed a residual structure of a single fixed payment of less than $250 for a year's reuse of an hour-long program (compared to over $20,000 payable for a network rerun). For theatrical product they are offering no residuals whatsoever for streaming. For made-for-Internet material, they offered minimums that would allow a studio to produce up to a 15 minute episode of network-derived web content for a script fee of $1300. They continued to refuse to grant jurisdiction over original content for the Internet.


The AMPTP's intractability is dispiriting news but it must also be motivating. Any movement on the part of these multinational conglomerates has been the result of the collective action of our membership, with the support of SAG, other unions, supportive politicians, and the general public. We must fight on, returning to the lines on Monday in force to make it clear that we will not back down, that we will not accept a bad deal, and that we are all in this together.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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