The WGA's Proposal to the AMPTP

There's been some concern about the idea of a flat fee of $250 for a year's streaming of an episode of tv. People are worried that the flat fee structure itself, as a construct.

That said, what we've been told is that "flat fee" is not an accurate description of what the NegComm is bringing to the room today, as a response to the AMPTP's proposal of last Thursday. The counter is more like this:

A tiered payscale, based on the number of times something is viewed via streaming.

The AMPTP did not make an offer on downloads or (EST) Electronic Sell Through. That’s supposed to come today. Let's hope it does.

As for streaming, our proposal is X bucks a year for X number of streams. And starting very reasonably for a low number of streams. Every time the number of views reaches a certain threshold, the compensation bumps up into the next tier.

It's a simple and fair idea – as with a traditional residual structure, there is a basic payment for the right to use content on the internet. And, as the work is used more and more, different tiers of compensation kick in - as the companies make more, the content creator makes more. All we ask is that if the content is a huge hit, our compensation scales upward accordingly. The company and the content creators share in the success.


SuinaBird said...

Those proposals are, in general, what I expected. Not too terribly specific, though. (and I don't expect to know every detail... it's not good for negotiation if every muttered possibility comes out in the middle of the day.)

I'm looking forward to the news from the front this evening after adjournment.

Wait a sec. Is this friend of a friend of a friend news?

Skyfleur said...

Well, if the AMPTP refuses this system after proposing that flat rate which they were against in the first place, then I guess the WGA will have to move for a percentile again.

I sure hope this goes well. It should since it is really reasonable.

As a tv addict, I'm starting to get panicky ;) Just kidding I have enough in store to last me awhile. Not mentioning the British shows. You've got to love the BBC and its great programming.

Even if I have nothing else to watch, I'm still one hundred percent behind you guys. Stay strong and conquer !

Captain Obvious said...

This concerns me a bit. If screwy accounting of money was the issue before, isn't it safe to assume screwy accounting of viewing data is just as likely?

It'd be one thing if this was still ITunes coughing up the content as the B2B relationship would imply accurate numbers would be used. With the networks or studios or their partnerships in total control over the sites couldn't they just fudge the numbers to avoid reaching higher tiers?

I recommend that, if something like this is accepted; the Alliance be forced to agree to either outside auditing of the viewing data, prominent posting of a view number counter on the site pages (including a page of aggregate data), or both.

Caitlin said...

Now this is what I've been looking for. Let's fight, but let's fight by talking. If Nikki Finke is right, we might finally be seeing true negotiations, in good faith (or as close to good faith as the studios can come, anyway), and with real results. I really am still behind you, WGA. Good luck, we're all behind you. And please get this done, for yourselves and all of us.

BTL Guy said...

I'm with the good Cap'n on this one. (Bif?)

Wow. :)

Anyway, I think a flat rate based on a much shorter viewing time would work better. IE, $250 per week that the content is available for stream (or X dollars for now, if $250/wk is offensive)...

However, a tiered plan based on viewer eyeballs could work IF the figure provided to the WGA is the same as the figure provided to the advertisers. Gotta make sure WGA isn't told "there were only 10,000 uniques" while the advertisers are told "there were 75,000 streams."

The issue that Captain raises though, goes to the heart of why I think a flat is better than a percentage -- better for everyone.

You CAN measure the number of viewers -- but you can measure them 100 different ways.

Do you count each stream that is completed? Or each stream that is started? What if someone has a bad connection and has to restart 5 times? What if someone watches half the episode at work, then goes home and watches the second half?

Save everyone the headache and the litigation by tying the streaming residual to a time period as opposed to viewership.

Evan Waters said...

It's a decent compromise on the face of it, but how thresholds are decided could get complicated. Obviously if streaming increases over the years there will be fewer people in the lower tiers (good for the writers, of course), and it would be hard to come up with set numbers. And a flat rate is still vulnerable to inflation. Maybe those two cancel each other out.

It's a start.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that the AMPTP still has to get rid of the stupid "promorional" clause before this contract can even begin to be thought of as nearly done.

Shanna said...

It's a good start. At least negoitations are moving forward with some logical plans. Nothing's perfect and nothing is set in stone.

lauraholl said...

so if a writer is feeling a bit poor... they just ask their fans with unlimited net access to keep streaming their eps over and over?

ooh anonymous commenting has been disabled. how shiiny!

Evan Waters said...

Hey, if you've got fans who are willing to do that (and sit through the embedded ads over and over), more power to ya.

Jeffool said...

What, are you saying fans watching reruns is a bad thing? Essentially the same thing, and how it's supposed to work. Sounds like the right direction to me.

lauraholl said...


well reruns requires them having them on... no reason you have to actually watch the eps you stream. set it up. mute sound, miniize window... do something else for an hour.

How's this B*%tch? said...

Yeeeouch! Not to play devil's advocate to the AMPTP, but I can see huge possibility for fraud here. Just cause your creative...doesn't mean you have ethics. Some do...some don't.