Movies

Hollywood writers and studios reach deal at eleventh hour

Hollywood writers reached a tentative deal with representatives of movie and television studios on a new contract yesterday, averting a strike.

They agreed on provisions to make up for shorter TV seasons and a 15 per cent rise in pay TV residuals, according to a memo to writers on the Writers Guild of America (WGA) website.

Members would together earn US$130 million (S$180 million) more over the lifespan of the new deal, the memo said.

"That result, and that resolve, is a testament to you, your courage, and your faith in us as your representatives."

Members still need to agree to the settlement. The 9,000-member guild had said it was prepared to call for a stoppage and for picketing of the big TV and movie studios as early as Tuesday if no deal was reached by midnight on Monday.

The focus of the talks has been the revolution in the TV industry since the advent of streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon, and a decline in the typical number of episodes in a season of scripted comedy or drama, to 10 from 22.

The WGA says its members, who are paid per episode, have suffered a 23 per cent drop in earnings in the past three years.

Royalties for shows sold on DVDs, streaming platforms and cable TV were also at issue, along with funding for the WGA's health plan. - REUTERS

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