WGA Lays Out Costs Per Studio of Their $343 Million Increase to Contract

The Writers Guild of America launched another salvo at Hollywood’s studios on Tuesday with a new memo to members outlining how much they estimate their proposed contract would cost each studio.

When the writers’ strike began two weeks ago, the WGA estimated that its proposed contract, much of which was rejected without a counteroffer by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, would collectively cost the industry $429 million, with $343 million of that directly attributable to AMPTP’s member studios.

In a new chart, which can be viewed below, the WGA estimated how that $343 million breaks down on a studio-by-studio basis. It estimates that the proposed contract would cost Disney an additional $75 million, or less than 0.1% of its $82 billion annual revenue. It also estimates that Netflix would pay up an additional $68 million, or 0.2% of its $31.6 billion annual revenue.

Source: Writers Guild of America
Source: Writers Guild of America

“These companies have made billions in profit off writers’ work, and they tell their investors every quarter about the importance of scripted content,” read the memo from the WGA negotiating committee. “Yet they are risking significant continued disruption in the coming weeks and months that would far outweigh the costs of settling.”

The AMPTP declined to comment for this story. Studio insiders who have spoken to TheWrap have questioned the Writers Guild’s estimates on how much the strike and its proposed offers are costing or would cost studios. One source pointed to a since-deleted tweet sent Monday by WGA East VP Lisa Takeuchi Cullen claiming that the strike would cost studios $30 million per day.

The claim was later clarified by the WGA in a statement to Deadline, saying that the $30 million per day figure was for the entire California economy rather than just studios and was based on a Milken Institute study on the economic impacts of the 2007 WGA strike that estimated that the 100-day work stoppage cost California’s economy $21 million per day, or $30 million in 2023 money after inflation adjustment.

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Both studio and labor insiders tell TheWrap that they don’t expect the WGA or AMPTP to seriously approach a return to the negotiating table until after the AMPTP completes labor talks with the Directors Guild and SAG-AFTRA. With DGA talks currently ongoing and talks with SAG-AFTRA set to begin on June 7, those talks likely won’t finish until the end of June.

The WGA has demanded that the AMPTP provide a counterproposal to all elements of its offer as a prerequisite for resuming talks. Members of the guild negotiating committee told reporters that the WGA made minimum hiring requirements part of its proposal to “codify the writers room” into its contract.

The guild says such requirements are needed to negate the recent trend of writers only getting employed to write scripts prior to a show being greenlit and then no longer staying employed during production, costing them both additional pay and the experience needed to work their way up to higher paid positions such as writer-producer and showrunner.

In a four-page document, the AMPTP said that it did not make a counteroffer on the writers room requirements as its member studios felt that a “one size fits all” approach to writer employment was too inflexible.

“If writing needs to be done, writers are hired, but these proposals require the employment of writers whether they’re needed for the creative process or not,” the AMPTP said in the document. “While the WGA has argued that the proposal is necessary to ‘preserv[e] the writers’ room,’ it is in reality a hiring quota that is incompatible with the creative nature of our industry.”

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