The Writers Guild of America managed to flip one semi-major film studio–The Weinstein Co. This is a nice bit of PR for the WGA, and it’s potentially helpful for Weinstein. But it shouldn’t have much impact on the strike.
Harvey Weinstein told the NY Times that he should have a deal done today along the lines the one that Tom Cruises’ United Artists struck with the WGA last week. Terms of the deal are unknown, but the WGA said its deal with David Letterman — the third pact it’s made with independent producers — included TV and motion picture Internet residuals at 2% and 2.5%, equivalent with their initial demands, and higher than the 1.2% offered by the studios for streaming and 0.3% for downloads.
But those details are largely irrelevant. The Weinstein deal, the UA deal, the Letterman deal and any other side deals that the WGA manages to sign will eventually be replaced by the agreement that the guild eventually reaches with Hollywood — whenever that happens. The main point of the deals is that they let some studios get back to work, which theoretically threatens the larger studios who remain idle.
It’s not a bad strategy for the WGA, but it’s a limited one. On the movie side, there are a handful of decent-sized independent studios not aligned with the big media companies. Lionsgate (LGF), for instance,is a candidate for a new deal. But this won’t work on the the TV side. The repeal of the “fin-syn” rule in the 90s allowed the networks to own the programs they air, and they’ve taken advantage of it — meaning there are almost no independents to cut deals with.
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