Writer's Strike Ends, Viewers To Get Network Shows Again - InformationWeek

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2/13/2008
02:21 PM
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Writer's Strike Ends, Viewers To Get Network Shows Again

The three-year contract would provide screenwriters with residual payments for digital broadcasts.

Movie and television writers went back to work Wednesday after union members agreed to end a strike caused in party by disputes over new media.

The Writers Guild of America voted Tuesday to end a strike that entered its fourth month and caused a work slowdown for related industries, especially in New York and California, where caterers, truck drivers, and other workers support and rely on the film industry. It also affected viewers' Internet habits, according to Chad Cooper, from the online video guide, OVGuide.com.

WGA members still must vote on a contract, in person and through provisional ballots. It appears likely they will approve the terms, which award residuals for content distributed via the Internet.

The three-year contract would provide screenwriters with residual payments for digital broadcasts. Writers will receive 2% of the gross receipts that retailers earn from advertising that supports content distributed via the Internet. That provision takes effect during the third year of the contract. Streaming video is exempt for 24 days after a show's original release to allow some leeway for digital video recording.

Cooper said that, during the strike, viewers turned to the Internet and found new content. He thinks they will continue doing so, even as they return to viewing their favorite television programs.

"During the writer's strike, we have seen roughly a 50% decrease in searches for popular network television shows," he said. "Now that viewers are anticipating a return to their shows, they are going to be catching up and re-dedicating themselves to their favorite series. We expect our big four network television series-specific searches to increase. International users will again flock to online video as a way to tune into popular American-based network series."

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