Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Entertainment: Writer’s Strike comes to an End
The entertainment industry, as well as billions of viewers, can breathe a collective sigh of relief as it is announced that the writer’s strike has come to and end. The three month strike was the most damaging that the industry has experienced in 20 years. The last major strike occurring in 1988 and lasting five months.
As a viewer, you may have noticed the explosion of reality television shows, the weirdness of late night television, and the lack of new episodes of your favorite dramas and sitcoms. The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) hit the picket lines fourteen weeks ago, bringing prime time television to a screeching halt while they battled over royalty payments and Internet programming.
Previously, writers whose work was offered for free over the Internet, were not given additional royalties as they would have been had the show been released to DVD. With Internet streamlining becoming more and more popular, it had become a very real concern for writers who would have received income from a season DVD release but weren’t receiving anything from networks who offered entire seasons online for free. The new contract stipulations also cover programming that is created specifically for Internet-only release.
The WGA didn’t win on all fronts. They were also striking for rights on reality shows and animated shows. But the end result was still highly beneficial and as DVDs become more obsolete and consumers turn more often to instant downloads, the concessions will provide more long-term income for unionized writers.
It is fortunate for the Academy Awards that the strike was resolved before the 80th annual show on February 24 of this year. There was a great deal of fear that the Oscars would suffer the same fate as the Golden Globes did, a situation that may have accelerated the negotiations. Now actors and writers can work together to produce a show that meets viewer expectations without the stigma of crossing picket lines.