As the writers took to the street, in print, online and via the airwaves last week to discuss the lack of streaming Internet residuals (just check out all of the strongly-worded statements from a who’s who of writers and showrunners in the roundup to the right, and all over this blog), there was little response from the studios.
Until this morning’s Variety and Hollywood Reporter, that is. The AMPTP, apparently feeling the need to buy an ad in both papers order to get its point across, took out a page in the pubs under the headline “Setting the record straight.” It appears the mega-congloms took issue with writers who have said they don’t get a penny off of digital downloads. (That includes “Lost” exec producer Damon Lindelof, who, in his Sunday New York Times op-ed piece, said he received nothing from iTunes downloads.)
Technically, scribes do… although it’s probably not much more than a penny or two, and the writers could argue that it’s virtually nothing (and should be increased). But that’s not quite the same as nothing.
It’s streaming that the scribes get buptkus from so far. And it’s streaming that is at the real crux of the issue, the media behemoths say. Furthermore, “When the WGA went on strike, an offer to pay writers for Internet streaming was on the table,” the AMPTP ad claimed.
Indeed, there was an offer on the table with some specificity — including a one or two month window — but the rate had not been set yet. The WGA leaders feel that the companies did not move far enough after the guild had taken the DVD proposal off the table.
— Michael Schneider