Historic Writers Strike Nears End as WGA and AMPTP Tentatively Agree

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The WGA has been on strike for the longest period in its history (Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

After a grueling 146-day standoff filled with tension and disputes, it appears that the 2023 writers strike might be reaching its conclusion.

As reported last Friday, both Netflix and Disney have stepped in to mediate and potentially resolve the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) prolonged conflict. This strike, which has also involved the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), led to the shutdown of several Hollywood productions, impacting major titles like Deadpool 3 and Stranger Things.

Latest reports from The Hollywood Reporter (THR) and Variety suggest that one of the unions involved has made headway in its negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and prominent studios in the entertainment industry. The WGA and AMPTP have “tentatively” reached a new agreement, with the WGA lauding the terms as “exceptional” for its members.

A statement posted on the WGA’s official communication platform confirmed the existence of this tentative agreement. However, it’s important to note that several steps must be taken before the deal becomes official, allowing WGA members to resume their work.

According to THR and Variety, the WGA’s negotiating committee will soon vote on the proposed terms, followed by a thorough examination by the WGA West’s board and WGA East’s council to ensure they align with their demands. If all parties give their approval, a decision is expected on Tuesday (September 26), at which point union members will have the opportunity to vote on the proposals. If the deal secures WGA members’ support, the strike will conclude on a date yet to be determined, and writers will be asked to cease all strike-related actions, including picketing in front of studios.

The potential three-year duration of this new agreement is a significant development that could impact the streaming landscape. It affords the WGA an opportunity to revisit contract terms before the decade concludes, which could prove advantageous in a rapidly evolving streaming industry.

Throughout the protracted strike, the WGA has also pushed for improved compensation for its writers working with leading streaming services. The provisional deal suggests that writers might see pay increases, not limited to flat rates but also potentially involving residual checks. These checks could provide additional income each time a movie or TV show is rerun or syndicated on platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus.

Another major point of contention during negotiations was the potential threat posed to writers by artificial intelligence (AI). The WGA argued that streaming giants like Prime Video and HBO Max might replace human writers with AI tools like ChatGPT, potentially rendering WGA members jobless. The extent to which this issue was resolved remains uncertain.

Transparency over viewing figures in the streaming sector has been another topic of debate. While Netflix has been providing weekly updates about its top-performing content, some transparency issues remain unresolved, such as detailed audience engagement data. The AMPTP and studios have been cautious in addressing this demand.

Should the new deal include measures for greater viewership transparency, it could provide writers with insights into their project’s performance and potentially lead to public disclosure of this data. This shift could also impact streaming platforms like Prime Video and Apple TV Plus, which have historically kept viewership figures under wraps.

The coming days will shed light on the specifics of this potentially groundbreaking deal. Stay tuned to TechRadar for updates. Additionally, hopes are high for a swift resolution to the SAG-AFTRA strike, allowing everyone to return to enjoying an array of exciting new movies and TV shows.

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