Hollywood finds itself in a state of uncertainty as two major unions, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA, are on strike, and there are no immediate plans for restarting negotiations. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has stated that the unions have been unwilling to compromise on key issues, such as demanding a share of streaming revenue and a minimum staffing level for TV writers. This has resulted in a double stalemate, with the SAG strike and the studios both waiting for the other to make the first move. Both unions are open to dialogue but stand firm on their demands. The future remains uncertain, and it’s crucial for the parties involved to find common ground and reach a resolution to end the SAG strike and the WGA strike, and bring stability back to the industry.

SAG strike

Despite the standstill, both unions have expressed their openness to dialogue, but they claim that the studios are unwilling to engage in their core demands. Mike Schur, a member of the WGA negotiating committee, emphasized that the studios need to initiate the conversation. He said that the committee was planning on waiting for the studios to call them and set up a meeting because the members of the SAG strike weren’t going to be the ones reaching out first. SAG-AFTRA started picketing on July 14, while the WGA has been on strike for almost three months. Insider sources predict that not much progress will be made for at least a few weeks, and perhaps not even until Labor Day. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, has repeatedly expressed his willingness to return to negotiations when the AMPTP is ready, but no overture has been made by the studios since talks broke off two weeks ago. Previously, the studios claimed that they couldn’t negotiate with the WGA due to their focus on talks with the Directors Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA. With the DGA deal now completed and SAG-AFTRA on strike, there are no ongoing negotiations with either union. Despite this opportunity, the studios haven’t reached out to the writers, leaving them in limbo.

WGA strike

David Goodman, co-chair of the WGA negotiating committee, acknowledged the current situation and urged the studios to devise a strategy to end the strikes. The WGA has specific demands, such as a streaming residual based on a show’s popularity and a minimum number of writers per TV show, which the AMPTP has rejected, deeming the latter to turn into a hiring quota. The WGA leaders maintain that the studios must be willing to negotiate on their entire agenda, emphasizing the importance of their demands. Chris Keyser, the other WGA negotiations co-chair, clarified that the union isn’t imposing preconditions on restarting talks, but the AMPTP needs to accept the basic structure proposed by the union.


On the other hand, SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP are at odds over a proposal to grant actors 2% of streaming revenue. The AMPTP finds this proposal problematic, as it would require production companies, not the streamers themselves, to pay the share. Additionally, SAG-AFTRA’s suggestion of using Parrot Analytics, a third-party data company, to determine show value, is seen as unreliable by the studios. Mike Schur emphasized the importance of finding a solution that benefits all parties when a show is successful, regardless of the specific plan. He said that there needs to be an improved payment structure for the directors, writers, actors, as well as everyone else involved whenever shows are successful, no matter who comes up with that structure at the end of the day.

Read more from Ronn Torossian:

Ronn Torossian on The Jerusalem Post
Ronn Torossian on Sound Cloud
Ronn Torossian on PRNews
Ronn Torossian on 5WPR

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.