Studios and striking writers end marathon session of negotiating with no deal

Studios and striking writers end marathon session of negotiating with no deal source says

More than 11.000
Hollywood film and TV writers are on strike.
Hey! Ho! Ho! Writers.
make your favorite shows! Hey! Hey!
This isn’t the first time a major writer’s strike has put Hollywood on the brink of a full-production shutdown.
But this could be the first one in which artificial intelligence plays a big role.
There are various tools that are trying to push the boundaries of what is possible.
Whether it’s the third.
fourth.
fifth generation.
it’s going to be very soon until we can literally just type in a prompt and see something as a consumer.
And you don’t have to have any sort of skills as a visual effects artist or as someone in the entertainment industry.
Here’s why the generative potential of AI has emerged as a key issue in this year’s writers’ strike.
The life force behind your favorite Hollywood production may be fueled by upwards of 58 different entertainment guilds and unions.
These unions operate in tandem with one massive trade association.
the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
or AMPTP.
which represents all major studios and streaming platforms.
To stay on pace with the ever-changing media landscape.
the Studio Alliance and the Hollywood unions convene once every three years to establish minimum basic agreements.
Past negotiations have tackled pension programs.
health funds.
residual payments and minimum wage agreements.
Of the many topics under consideration in this year’s contract negotiations.
one nascent technology has entered the conversation for the first time.
artificial intelligence.
I hope I’m wrong.
but I do think that the use of AI is going to take over the entertainment industry.
And I think it’s going to be really bad.
The last WGA strike in 2007 lasted 100 days and cost California’s economy approximately $2.1
billion in revenue.
When I was on the negotiating committee of Screen Actors Guild around 07.
08.
we were trying to get residuals for made for new media.
That’s what streaming was called then.
The studio said.
well.
it’s so new.
We don’t know if we’re even going to make money on the Internet.
I mean.
it’s so untried.
so unproven.
And I said to the rest of the committee.
like.
we better get some real estate in here because this is just another way to distribute things.
After 14 months on the picket line.
WGA writers ratified a deal that granted the union jurisdiction over new media and codified a system for creators to receive royalty payments from streamed content.
The hard-fought win laid a foundation for residual compensation before streaming took over as a leader in content distribution.
Widespread consumer adoption of streaming has made it the new standard for entertainment.
But businesses operating in the space are struggling to achieve profitability.
Today.
the only one we know of that is cash flow positive is Netflix.
They’ve estimated there’ll be about $3.5
billion of free cash flow this year.
Every other company out there.
if you think about it.
are losing money.
Disney.
Warner Bros.
Discovery losing billions and billions and billions of dollars a year.
And then you also have to scale this.
It’s not enough to have a couple million subscribers.
It took Netflix getting to about 200 million subscribers before they got cash flow positive.
The platforms are trying to figure out what works best from their bottom line.
In the face of weak revenues.
streaming companies have been issuing layoffs.
bundling services and removing content from their platforms.
While content removal helps curtail balance sheet losses.
the action cuts off content creators from receiving residual profits.
often without any formal notification.
Streaming platforms that are creating their own content and their own originals are constantly changing the way they license content.
They’ve jumped from service to service to service in new licensing deals.
Some of those deals are one year long.
Some of them are multi years.
Every time a content deal is done with a streaming platform or distribution.
it has a direct impact on those that created the content.
Distributors.
producers.
writers.
actors.
because they’re getting royalties based on that.
So they don’t like that some content is being removed from streaming platforms because now they’re not getting compensated for that anymore.
The advent of streaming has granted audiences unprecedented access to massive libraries of on demand content.
a modern luxury that could dampen how viewers feel the effects of a strike.
Last time the Writers Guild struck was in 2007.
2008.
And everybody really felt it.
The audience felt it.
Studios felt it.
Because if there wasn’t new material being made.
there was nothing.
There was no streaming.
There was broadcast television.
there was cable television.
and there were movies.
Now there’s a strike and there are streaming sites where you can watch an almost unlimited amount of material while we’re on strike.
So just in that way.
you can see how striking now has possibly less impact than when we struck in 07 and 08.
With content generation imperative to the success of both writers and studios.
the advent of AI has thrown an unforeseen wrench into contract negotiations.
Rather than an outright ban.
the WGA has proposed guardrails for AI technology that aim to protect the working standards.
payment systems and authorship credit for writers.
As for the studios.
their statement on AI acknowledges ambiguity around the emerging technology and proposes annual discussions before landing on an official regulatory agreement.
The alliance’s unwillingness to outline strict policies around generative AI tools has led to a stalemate.
As the WGA takes to the picket line.
other entertainment unions have begun their own contract negotiations with the alliance.
The Directors Guild of America struck a contract agreement with the studios.
On the topic of AI.
both parties agreed that AI is not a person and that generative AI cannot replace the duties performed by members.
Alliance negotiations with the Screen Actors Guild are underway with the existing contract set to expire June 30th.
2023.
Ahead of contract negotiations with the alliance.
the Screen Actors Guild voted in favor of a strike.
a proactive step in hopes of bringing more leverage to the bargaining table.
They maintain that using AI to replicate an actor’s voice or likeness requires the performer’s consent and compensation.
Really.
I think the place that we are going to as a society is prompt to entertainment.
literally being able to type in.
I want to see an action movie and I want it to be funny and I want it to take place in Texas.
Go.
And it spits out a movie.
This is Caleb Ward.
He’s the founder of Curious Refuge.
a production hub and learning portal for AI filmmakers.
Curious Refuge’s viral videos have given millions of viewers a brief glimpse of what an AI film feature may look like.
AI generates content through a digestive process.
The model takes in pre-existing content.
both copyright protected and public domain.
From this.
it produces an amalgamation of information.
The output looks new.
but comes from existing media and sources.
These tools are now teaching themselves based on those iterations and generating its own reference points.
Now we’re seeing works that you would never know what the inspiration source was.
And it seemingly is something that’s coming from thin air.
but it’s being pulled from a million different resources and not just one.
Writers will be able to show what the final product will look like in the writer’s room.
That has never been possible before.
In the grand tapestry of fate.
I’m less of a golden thread and more of a knot.
And so I think writers now are going to have more power than ever before to direct these creative projects.
AI enthusiasts like Caleb see the technology as an equalizer that enables individuals with no experience in the entertainment industry to produce cinematic worlds.
Creative tools like this have always evolved how we tell stories.
And I think that this is just a time of transition for us.
And so we’re all going to learn how to use these tools soon.
I think the idea that AI would democratize entertainment is absolutely ridiculous.
What that’s really saying is that the unskilled and the untalented would be able to pretend that they are skilled and talented.
As the alliance and the unions hash out disputes over artificial intelligence.
a budding faction of AI filmmakers continues to take shape.
AI is a hot topic right now.
Pretty much any industry out there.
When it comes to video.
you do have some people that are saying that they think it’s going to replace writers or directors or production.
pre-production.
post-production.
So does anybody out there know what the impact of AI is going to be yet?
No.
It’s far too early.
I look back in the days of when YouTube first started.
And there was this idea that because YouTube is this open platform and anyone can create videos.
that users themselves would replace studios out there creating all their own content because it was free to upload.
it was free to stream.
But the reality is we’re all looking for the best content.
80% of your traffic comes from 20% of your content.
But with video.
it’s storytelling.
And I believe you have to have a human to really tell that story.

 

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