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Hollywood studios release offer outlining wage increases, AI protections for writers

Hollywood strike: No deal made with WGA and studios after meeting
Hollywood strike: No deal made with WGA and studios after meeting 02:03

Hollywood studios released their offer outlining the highest wage increase for writers in 35 years and protections against artificial intelligence, among other provisions. 

Writers have been picketing outside major studios for over 100 days, surpassing the 2007-2008 strike. 

"Our priority is to end the strike so that valued members of the creative community can return to what they do best and to end the hardships that so many people and businesses that service the industry are experiencing," said Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the union that represents the studios.

Wage increases and residuals 

One of the major sticking points between the two sides was their stark differences in wage increases and residuals.

The proposal sent to the Writers Guild of America on Aug. 11 includes a 5% increase in the first year of the contract, then 4% the next year, and 3.5% in the third, totaling a compounded 13% increase. Before the WGA went on strike on May 2, the AMPTP offered writers 4%-3%- 2% in the respective years, or 9% over the duration of the contract. 

The recent offer does not match the WGA's demand of 6%-5%-5% in the respective years but does bring them from $9,888 a week to $11,371 a week for guarantees of up to 9 weeks. 

They also moved to guarantee writers a minimum of 10 weeks of employment, a proposal they initially refused before the strike.

AMPTP also increased the total domestic and foreign residuals for writers from $72,067 to $87,546 per episode over three years.

Additionally, the union seemed to cave on the WGA's proposal to implement a viewership-based streaming residuals model.  

"For the first time, viewership data in the form of quarterly confidential reports is to be provided to the WGA that will include total SVOD view hours per title. This increased transparency will enable the WGA to develop proposals to restructure the current SVOD residual regime in the future," AMPTP wrote in the offer.

Previously, the studios flat-out rejected the proposal and refused to make a counter, according to the WGA.

AI protections

Studios also included a tenet regarding artificial intelligence protections in the proposed deal.

"The Companies confirm that because [Generative Artificial Intelligence] is not a person, it is not a 'writer' or 'professional writer' as defined in this MBA and, therefore, written material produced by GAI will not be considered literary material under this or any prior MBA," the AMPTP wrote in the offer. 

The union continued: "The proposal provides important safeguards to prevent writers from being disadvantaged if any part of the script is based on GAI-produced material, so that the writer's compensation, credit and separated rights will not be affected by the use of GAIproduced material."

Before the writers went on strike, the studios rejected the proposal and countered by "offering annual meetings to discuss advancements in technology," according to the WGA. 

In a statement released on Aug. 18, the union said they continued to exchange proposals with the AMPTP and planned to meet with them this week. 

"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," Lombardini said.   

The WGA negotiating committee responded to its members after meeting with the AMPTP saying, "This wasn't a meeting to make a deal. This was a meeting to get us to cave, which is why, not 20 minutes after we left the meeting, the AMPTP released its summary of their proposals."    

Paramount Pictures, one of the studios involved in the negotiations, and CBS News and Stations are both part of Paramount Global. Also, some CBS News and Stations staff are SAG-AFTRA or Writers Guild members; though, their contracts are not affected by the strikes.

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