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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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