Writers pen 4.7% rise in ’92 resids

Writers saw residuals earnings increase 4.7% during 1992, marking a slow growth year due to a sluggish fourth quarter and the resumption of first-run syndication programming on television that has cut deeply into rerun revenues.

During the year, WGAW members earned approximately $ 91.6 million in residuals, with the bulk of those earnings — about $ 54 million — coming from television.

Residuals from theatrical films and video amounted to $ 35.2 million.

That compares to $ 87.5 million during 1991, with $ 55.5 million from television and $ 29.4 million from theatrical.

Fourth-quarter earnings actually fell 4.5% from 1991 fourth-quarter earnings, which WGAW officials attribute to a decreasing number of hour and half-hour programs. TV resids actually dropped 18% during the fourth quarter.

During the fourth quarter, writers’ resids amounted to $ 19.5 million, vs. $ 20.4 million in 1991.

“In 1992, there was not as much time on-air for reruns because of a resumption of first-run syndication,” said Chuck Slocum, WGAW industry analyst.

While fewer reruns mean less in rerun earnings, Slocum also noted that a stronger syndication market has meant more jobs for writers.

The biggest growth in residuals earnings was in theatrical films, as both domestic and foreign free TV reruns of feature films brought in $ 10.3 million, amounting to a 17.6% increase from ’91 earnings.

Supplemental screen earnings — homevideo and pay TV — had an even bigger increase, jumping 20.4% from 1991 to 1992, with nearly $ 25 million earned.

“The supplemental earnings are very strong,” Slocum said. “With the technological growth at a lull right now, and the video market stabilized, this nonetheless shows a continued strength of the sell-through market.”

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