From The Wall Street Journal:
Hollywood is bracing for a sequel that no one in the industry wants to make: a writers’ strike.
Almost 10 years after a four-month writers’ strike over DVD residuals and digital-platform compensation nearly split the entertainment industry, a new battle is brewing between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP.
The key issues dividing show business this time around include exclusive contracts between writers and television shows, and the guild’s health-care plan, which the television and movie studios feel is too exorbitant.
The current contract is set to expire May 1 and talks have broken off until next week. The WGA membership is expected this week to vote for a strike authorization, which allows its negotiators to call a strike.
The labor tensions are exacerbated by the so-called peak TV era. There is more scripted television in production than ever before thanks to the growth of streaming services and more original programming by cable networks. There will be nearly 500 scripted shows produced this year, according to research by 21st Century Fox ’s FX Networks unit. WGA members say they aren’t benefiting from that growth.
Writers must “participate in the windfall we have created in the last five years,” said “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner in a WGA-released video urging members to vote “yes” for the strike authorization.
Executives who were at the helm of the networks 10 years ago warn that a prolonged strike would drive viewers away from television as well as do great harm to the business.
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A strike would come at a very precarious time for the television and movie industries. Most television networks are struggling to hold on to viewers and adapt to new technologies. Ratings are down for most cable and broadcast networks this season in viewers and the key 18-49 age demographic.
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While there are more shows than ever, the guild, which represents around 12,000 members, said the average salary of TV writers fell by 23% over the past two seasons.
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Another WGA bone of contention: Some programs force writers to remain exclusive to a show, making it impossible to compensate fewer episodes with other gigs throughout the year—a requirement also on the negotiating table.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)
And, for a different view of video consumption, here’s a story from Barrons:
Watch for two key milestones for advertising this year. Digital venues will overtake television as the top draw for ad spending. And mobile, for the first time, will make up more than half of digital.
That bodes well for companies that pull in massive audiences online, especially over smartphones. In the U.S., two stand above all others: Facebook and Google parent Alphabet. Together, they control 54% of digital advertising, up from 44% a year ago. We recommended shares of Facebook five months ago, a few bucks below where they recently traded. Now it’s time for a fresh look at Alphabet, whose shares look likely to top $1,000 in a year, for a gain of over 20%.
In 2017, digital ads will bring in $202 billion—40% of all ad spending, according to industry forecaster Magna. That compares with 36% for television. It’s just a start. Digital spending will continue soaring and will capture a 50% share by 2021, while TV spending will barely expand and its share will shrink to 33%.
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Nearly all of the recent growth in digital ads has come from search and social media, especially social videos, and small screens are playing a big role. Mobile will reach 52% of digital ad spending this year, according to Magna. By 2021, mobile’s share will balloon to 72%.
Link to the rest at Barron’s
PG says traditional publishers aren’t the only ones being disrupted by developments in the digital world.