Back in May, the Writer’s Guild Of America went on strike following a failed negotiation with the studios, including Disney. The writers union wanted to improve conditions for writers, better pay, conflicts on the use of AI, and most importantly, an increase in the amount of money writers get from residuals from streaming.
Residuals have been a major part of the television industry for decades, and they are a mechanism that sees writers, along with other people who worked on the show, including actors, get paid while shows and films are released on TV. However, for streaming platforms, residuals are far lower than traditional linear television.
Earlier this week, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke out during an interview with CNBC about the current strikes, stating that the unions weren’t being realistic with their demands for more residuals from streaming.
“It’s very disturbing to me. We’ve talked about disruptive forces on this business and all the challenges we’re facing, the recovery from COVID which is ongoing, it’s not completely back. This is the worst time in the world to add to that disruption. “I understand any labor organization’s desire to work on behalf of its members to get the most compensation and be compensated fairly based on the value that they deliver. We managed, as an industry, to negotiate a very good deal with the directors guild that reflects the value that the directors contribute to this great business. We wanted to do the same thing with the writers, and we’d like to do the same thing with the actors. There’s a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic. And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”
Following this comment on CBNC, Cody Ziglar, who was one of the writers on last year’s Marvel Studios Disney+ Original series, “She-Hulk: Attorney At Law”, and helped write the Daredevil episode, shared a post on social media stating:
“The residual check from my episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was $396,”
It is important to note that Cody Ziglar would have been paid for writing on the show, but the residuals are so much less than linear television, which used to be, on average, between $10,000 and $20,000 per episode of network primetime TV.
As you can see, Cody’s payment for “She-Hulk: Attorney At Law” has been far less, and while the studios claim that streaming isn’t as profitable as linear television was, so can’t afford to bring the rules from traditional television over to streaming. There is little doubt that there is a huge difference between the current systems, and with Disney looking to possibly sell its linear businesses, writers, along with actors and others, are trying to negotiate a new way of getting paid, as the industry shifts to streaming as the default.
With the writer’s union and studios so far apart on the issues, this strike is expected to continue throughout the summer and possibly longer.
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Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.