Hopes rise of US writers strike progress as AMPTP tweaks AI, writers room & viewing proposals

Hopes are rising that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) could be reaching an agreement that would bring an end to the writers strike, after the production union offered new terms to screenwriters.

Details of the proposal from the AMPTP – sent to the WGA on Friday – emerged overnight via Bloomberg, with greater protection around the use of artificial intelligence (AI), improved transparency on viewing figures and more control around writers rooms among key developments.

The improved AI proposal would ensure human writers are credited rather than machines with additional protections included, although the Bloomberg report did not detail what these would be.

The AMPTP proposal also reportedly offers writers more access to viewing data – specifically how many hours have been watched – although there has been no sign that this would be tied to associated compensation.

Netflix already provides hours watched data, but almost all of the other US studios streamers provide little to no insight into who is watching what.

There have also been concessions made with regards to writers rooms, with more control handed to showrunners over their size and minimum durations.

The Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources with knowledge of the deal, added that has also been a “better-than-20% increase” in residual payments for writers when shows appear away from the commissioning network/streamer.

Next steps

The offer is being seen as a somewhat positive, if unexpected, development following more than 100 days of acrimonious strike action.

The WGA and the AMPTP are due to meet later today to discuss the new offer, with Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and Disney chief Bob Iger leading the push to strike a new agreement, according to reports.

The WGA met reps of the The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for the first time in three months on Friday, adding that it would “evaluate their offer” and provide a response this week.

The details do, however, follow comments from the WGA about the AMPTP leaking information to media. In its note last week, the WGA said it would not comment on the new proposals in a bid to allow for “more progress” to be made “without a blow-by-blow description of the moves on each side and a subsequent public dissection of the meaning of the moves.”

It added: “That will be our approach, at least for the time being, until there is something of significance to report, or unless management uses the media or industry surrogates to try to influence the narrative.”

The WGA has been on strike since 2 May, with actor’s union SAG-AFTRA also halting work last month, bringing Hollywood productions to a standstill.

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