It looks increasingly like the Hollywood guilds are giving up before they even go into this 2010/2011 round of negotiations with the movie studios and TV networks. This message by 4-time Basic Agreement/FLTTA Negotiations Chair Gil Cates to 14,000 Directors Guild members talks about focusing on health and pension plans and doesn’t even mention demanding more New Media money from the AMPTP. This, despite the fact that Big Media is alive and well and even flourishing not just this quarter but in many cases for next quarter or even the entire year. (Every Studio & Network Boosted Earnings) For instance, Warner Bros’ home video revenue was down 8%, but revenue from digital distribution grew by a sizable 50% and now represents nearly 20% of the studio’s total home video pie. Yet the trickle down effect has been slow or nonexistent for Hollywood when it comes to this and every Big Media revenue stream.
What’s also interesting about Cates’ statement is that this notorious hater of the Writers Guild cozies up to the new SAG-AFTRA cooperation. So it’s clear what’s going to happen during this next round of negotiations: SAG-AFTRA make a quick and easy contract full of compromises and few gains. The DGA soon follows. Which leaves the WGA on its own – facing bogus Hollywood trade reports about impending strike action to create pressure from all the other guilds to hurry up and make a deal “so we all can go back to work”. In other words, capitulation.
I’m honored to be serving as your Basic Agreement/FLTTA Negotiations Chair for the fourth time, and to be giving you the first update on the 2010/2011 negotiations cycle.