Negotiators about to get fed


That’s fed as in federal assistance. The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America still are not close to an agreement as Friday sessions proved fruitless. The result will be a session with an assignee from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. AMPTP offered numerous concessions. Nick Counter, president of the alliance, agreed to consult lead writers when products are placed in TV shows; agreed to raise the ceiling on health and pension plan contributions but continued to reject WGA demands for higher home video payments and increased residuals for webcast TV shows and movies.

John Bowman, chair of the WGA Negotiating Committee, responded: "Our employers are growing and dominate the global entertainment industry. Yet their opening offer would have rolled back our compensation by 50%. Now they decrease the rollbacks to 45% and proclaim that they are truly bargaining. Minor adjustments to major rollbacks do not constitute forward motion. To make a deal, the AMPTP must engage with us on the issues that matter in this negotiation."

The two sides took a break over the weekend and today, but will meet with the mediator on Tuesday. The current contract expires this Wednesday 10/31/07, and a strike could begin the next day.

TVBR/RBR note: Our TVBR observation from last Monday 10/22/07 TVBR #206 still holds true. The real culprit of the potential strike is New Media, everyone wants a piece of the action, called Money. The last strike by the WGA was in 1988 and it cost the industry around 500 million bucks. Now do the math today and see what that same 500 million would be today.