The Writers Guild of America in the Age of New Media

“The economic crisis in broadcast television is part and parcel of the digital upheaval that is challenging every aspect of the business of traditional media and entertainment companies” (p. 1).
TV consumers are not the same audience they once were. Availability has changed, Timetables have changed, payment is now optional, and traditional television is now competing against media that is being produced faster and free for all. Most (if not all) television viewers will tell you that if they had the chance to skip the unimportant commercials in-between their show they would. DVRs started giving people the ability to do just that. If companies were not having their sponsors seen, what is the point of paying for it? Viewers are now opting for the cheaper and more efficient way of watching their program. So major production studios have to now adapt to the instant streaming and downloading  of online media. Which also means the writers of the Writers Guild of America now have to revise their legal agreements to be included on the prominent new broadcasting outlet. Now that actors, writers, and directors work would be distributed in a wholly new media format the issue was how that compensation would be calculated under existing guild contracts. Once both sides came to an agreement and the deal was made the major companies were now obligated to give the guilds access to documents and other information to the new media business transactions.
Were the contractual gains achieved amid the pressure of the WGA’s striWriters-strikeke worth the sacrifice in immediate earnings for writers and others in the creative community? Not all writers received payment enough to make up for their losses during the strike, and for many the end of the strike didn’t mean that they could go back to working immediately. Perhaps the battle was not fought entirely for themselves, but for the future writers of America.




Littleton, Cynthia. “TV on Strike”. Syracuse University Press. 2013. Pdf




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