Strike over $50m per year residual increase costing $300 million per month

by Paul William Tenny

This is what $250 million looks like.
Sorry I can't give you a direct link to this but there doesn't seem to be one on this page on SyFy Portal, so we'll just have to make due with what we've got. The deal is this: The 1988 writers strike supposedly cost the networks and studios about $500 million dollars for the 5-6 months it lasted, which doesn't account for the larger industry losses (as far as I know) and layoffs and indirect affects to the catering and transportation business, among many others.

That's a pretty big number now, forget about what it felt like 19 years ago. I had trouble finding a solid estimate for what that number might look like this year with the massive consolidation, the weak dollar, a strained California economy, bloated production costs, and all around spending blitz these companies indulge in these days. With the '88 number not accounting for inflation, you're talking about losses of $3.2 million per day for a five-month strike.

SyFy Portal's Michael Hinman dug up a story at CNN that pegs industry losses (apparently without taking NBC into account, and doesn't specify if that includes the studio arm of NBC-U or just the network) at nearly $300 million for the first month, adjusting the old estimate upwards of $10 million per day. A strike that lasts into March of 2008, as has been suggested by Daily Variety, could end up costing the AMPTP companies a combined $1.5 billion.

Ironically, this battle is being fought over an increase in residuals writers are seeking for DVD sales, and jurisdiction and new media residuals that, by the Writers Guild of America's estimates, would top out at around $50 million per year across all these companies.

I've said this before and I'll say it again because it's insane that the shareholders for these companies are just sitting on their hands while their extremely wealthy CEOs (paid in the $20-50 million per year range) are costing their companies hundreds of millions of dollars per month in what amounts to a minor squabble over pocket change.
in Labor


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