☀️WGA Gets Big Gains, but Writers still get little data
NETFLIX can't crack Family Film success code / Sports TV rights faces big weekend / Streamers unite in DC
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty (connect with me on LinkedIn here if ya like), and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY Sept 27, 2023.
Where let’s start the day with a dual gif!
First, a welcome to all other New Yorkers coming out of their apartments after FIVE days of pretty continuous rain 🥴, and of course to writers finally coming out of essentially five months of hell in Hollywood, and getting back to work today 👏.
THEN: OpenAI is now looking to value itself at $90 billion, courtesy of a new internal share sale for investors and employees. I too am also looking at a valuation in that range - deep #ARPU analysis included… take that AI!
PLUS: AMAZON is officially in a U.S. Gov’t lawsuit over its marketplace tactics, although it’s already been adjusting some of them that got them in this situation in the first place… because yeah, free markets always do the right thing on their own 🙄.
OH: Happy CNN MAX launch day! Interesting that they’re:
Just calling it “News” (Beta) in the top bar, not CNN MAX.
Not using the CNN logo anywhere here on the homepage today
Or featuring any talent. This looks like a stock photo at best.
🪧 STRIKE FORCE turns to ✍️ WRITE FORCE
Look, clearly I’m not a WGA member - it’s the best I got… but the 2023 WGA strike is over! Alas, so is the BOB’S BIG BOY and SWINGERS free food train. Thanks for the generosity Drew!
In support, I heard President Biden streamed his favorite episode of Bonanza… while on the strike likes of the UAW. Unfortunately it was a pirated copy on YOUTUBE from an account called BigJoe42, but it’s the thought that counts.
For the record, the White House did issue a statement of support on Monday - and I’m sure the Prez is welcome to join the SAG-AFTRA line any day that works in his calendar.
So, after 148 days, writers can now officially get back to work today (as well as find new work). Not to tangent, but I have this great movie spec about a doll who… ok fine Janice, I’ll save it 🙄.
The Great WGA Strike of 2023 was longer than the 2007-08 strike by nearly 1/3, but just short of the 1988 WGA strike (153 days).
PAY INCREASES: Matched the DGA on the whole (yr1: 5%/yr2: 4%/yr3: 3.5%), and a +76% increase in foreign residuals.
MINIMUM STAFFING: WGA largely made a big win here on staffing requirements, which will begin for shows whose writing of the first episode of the next (or first) season starts in December (and onward of course).
ALTHOUGH: There are carve-outs for greenlit shows where one person is doing all of the writing.
Strikegeist has the charts with full details here for the inclined in the “Preserving the Writers Room” section.
But this is structural industry change that only would have come about through having a union.
AI: I’ll leave this to the lawyers to parse the language (item 5 here in the WGA’s summary), but these seem like sound protections to me, given the unknown state of things ahead?
Perhaps this becomes a bigger thing in the next negotiation in 2026 if/once any gaps in this language are exposed.
SCREENWRITING: Writers now get a guaranteed second step in their first draft or spec sale deals, plus an 18% minimum pay bump (plus residual increases) for streaming movies with budgets over $30 million.
Expect this to be the new magic number in greenlights.
SHARE IN SUCCESS: Guild-minimum bonuses for Streaming Originals based on U.S. Streaming goalposts.
They’ll be triggered when a Streaming show or movie’s view count (using my NETFLIX Films Chart ‘hours divided by duration’ metric) hits a number equal to 20% of any major Streaming service’s U.S. subscriber base in its first 90 days (of its first window, and any subsequent window).
Based on current subscriber numbers, that’s roughly:
NETFLIX: 15 million U.S. views (if CANADA is included. If not, more like 13.5 million-ish based on ESG’s calculations)
DISNEY+, HULU: Roughly 9.5 million
MAX: Maybe around 8 million
MAX & DISCO+ subs are mixed together in WBD reporting, so that’s best guess.
PEACOCK: About 5 million…
Although 🤷♂️ how many/if any of their SKY subs are included in their 24 million paid subs number (my understanding is they’re not… but perhaps I misunderstood).
AMAZON, APPLE TV+, PAR+: Who knows… except for the six WGA employees who will get to see the data, and thus trigger the bonus payments for those with projects on those streamers/Taylor Sheridan.
No bonuses for international views.
This is just my interpretation from the language - it sounds like they’re crediting one full view (based on duration) = one subscriber… even if one subscriber is responsible for three views of a given movie or a certain TV episode (i.e. they watch it 3X etc).
And… DATA SHARING: This one is bit of a mixed bag for writers.
TLDR: The studios are keeping their data private (more below for the inclined).
Yes, you’ll get bonuses in success for your streaming originals.
No, you will not be given data about your show specifically.
This gets a little into the fine print of the deals, which I enlisted #MediaNerd🤓 to come break down here for Ankler paid subscribers.
I dive into the language around data - and the projects writers will not be sharing in the success of on Streaming, which is considerable.
SO… NOW WHAT
WGA member voting begins Oct. 2 and ends Oct. 9, so hopefully this is signed and sealed to the AMPTP by the second week of October… as SAG-AFTRA still awaits an initial AMPTP sit-down date. If the WGA has taught us anything - it’ll be announced on late Friday afternoon 🙄.
See you in May 2026 WGA! When oddly enough, I’ll also have another niece graduating high school.
OH: As someone who believes in holding ‘expert predictions’ to accountability… I looked back at my own for my forecast on a WGA resolution back in early June.
Outside of my SAG grey area, turns out I was pretty spot on!
And yes, this and $2.90 will get me on the subway to my lunch meeting today.
From early June:
IN TODAY’S EDITION
NETFLIX’s latest big family film flops on opening weekend, continuing their search for an Original Film hit in the genre. A look at the latest numbers.
The DIAMOND SPORTS saga is facing a crucial weekend for NBA & NHL teams in 3 days.
Football dominates everything once again over the weekend - a look into the latest numbers, and some context around the Yellowstone and Krapopolis numbers.
FRANCE sees big shift coming in
soccerfootball TV deals, and more.