A Primer on Friday's Strike Events

Posted on December 8, 2007

Robert J. Elisberg sums up what happened yesterday at the disastrous strike talks.
1. The AMPTP offer for Internet streaming is $252.94. Unchanged. Well, actually, that's only for hour-long TV shows. Half-hour programs would get $139.15. To be fair, that's not really the offer. If the corporations themselves decide that these reruns are "promotional," then the writers get zero. (In dollar terms that's $0.00.)

2. The AMPTP corporations offer for original content written for the Internet is zero ($0.00). Unchanged. Mathematically you could say that they quadrupled their previous offer, since zero times four is still zero.

3. The AMPTP corporations offer is to pay 1/3 of a penny for each dollar royalty downloading videos. Unchanged. There is a rumor that they also offered to add a lump of coal, but the rumor isn't true.

4. The AMPTP gave an ultimatum that unless writers dropped several issues without the corporations giving anything in return, they would not even negotiate. This is known among circus folk as "demanding that someone negotiate with themselves." It's considered a Really Bad Thing by most people. It's considered a really stupid thing by the rest.

5. And then the executives from the AMPTP called off negotiations and walked out. There is no record of whether anyone said, "And to all a good night," as they departed.
It's all a negotiating strategy by the PR firm hired by the AMPTP. The studios really seem to believe that they aren't going to have to address paying writers for new media. They are going to have to deal with the issue eventually -- there's just no getting around it, because the writers are holding fast and not turning on their leaders as the studios hoped they would. They have seriously miscalculated the writers' resolve.

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