Today’s face-off: ABC Studios takes issue with the WGAE

Worldofdisney ABC Studios has become the first studio to respond individually to allegations made during the strike that it believes are inaccurate.

A Writers Guild of America East leaflet passed out Wednesday in front of Manhattan’s World of Disney (left) quoted Disney’s Bob Iger, who has said that the conglom generates $1.5 billion in digital revenue annually. The scribes, the WGAE said, earn nothing from that.

An ABC Studios spokesperson, who said she was tired of reading “distortion of information” in newspaper articles and posts on blogs (like this one) without any comment from the producers, drafted this statement:

“The WGA leadership is deliberately distorting the facts.  As the WGA knows full well, more than half of Disney’s digital revenues are from sales of travel packages and the vast majority of the rest is from online advertising on sites like Disney.com and ESPN.com and through online merchandise sales.  The WGA also knows its members have been paid residuals on entertainment content downloaded via iTunes.  Deliberately misleading the public is not the best way to resolve this issue and get Hollywood back to work.”

In response, the WGAE didn’t disagree with Disney’s account of where the $1.5 billion comes from, but did point out that the congloms have so far not been willing to open the books and prove how much money has been generated specifically from TV/film downloads and streaming:

We would better know the nature of Disney’s and ABC’s revenues from digital if they would more fully and transparently reveal them to us. For example, their statement does not mention that much of the online advertising on their websites accompanies streaming video of our members’ work in television and film for which they receive absolutely nothing. All we’re asking for is a fair, respectful, small share.”

— Michael Schneider

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  1. Klaatu says:

    I did say they sold on iTunes.
    No we get no data about how many are sold. None of this is released.
    There is no accesible paper trail.
    The entire residual system works on the honor system. Yep, scary. There are constantly law suits and audits by the guilds and their members to try to get access to the real numbers for TV and film revenue. Search for “Peter Jackson” and “New Line” for a recent example.
    Okay, here is some back-up on my claim the studios lie. According to them Frasier and The Simpsons are both in the red! It is policy of all the studios to cook the books and bury accounting facts. There have been numerous law suits that have uncovered prrof of this.
    Once a formula for “fair” residuals is established, it still would assume that the reporting will be honest. Ha!

  2. ? says:

    You never said they were in the top 10, so now it is obvious they have sales. Do you get data on how many have been sold? There has to be a paper trail. You must have some recourse to collect, so where did the process break down? I’m not aware of how it all works, and with several parties involved, how long does it usually take? Do you have to reach a minimum amount, say $5, before you get a residual check? That would take a lot of downloads at a few cents each. My point is that before you go calling someone a liar, it would be nice to know how the claim is backed up and who is at fault.

  3. Klaatu says:

    Yes. They wouldn’t make the top 10 of iTunes if they sold zero units.

  4. ? says:

    Are you sure any of your shows have been sold?

  5. Klaatu says:

    Disney sells shows I have written on iTunes and I have never gotten a penny. They also stream them online with ads and I have never gotten a penny. More lies.

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