Directors deal, writers on deadline
Things should be getting innnnnteresting in the next week or so...
By LYNN ELBER
AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES — Hollywood directors have reached a tentative contract deal with studios after five days of negotiations, the directors union said Thursday.
The agreement puts pressure on striking writers to end their walkout that has lasted more than two months and idled work on dozens of TV shows.
“Two words describe this agreement — groundbreaking and substantial,” said Gil Cates, chairman of the Directors Guild of America’s negotiating committee. “There are no rollbacks of any kind.”
Among other things, the agreement increases both wages and residuals for each year of the contract. It also establishes guild jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet and sets a new residuals formula for paid Internet downloads that essentially doubles the rate currently paid by employers, the guild said.
It also establishes residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet.
Payment for programs offered on the Internet are a key sticking point between the studios and striking writers.
ADD: I should mention that doubling the money for Internet downloads is something of a red herring, since writers currently get next to nothing for downloads. The devil's in the details, though. The New York Times story on the deal includes this explanation: "Key provisions of the contract assure that its formulas governing new media will not become a precedent in the next negotiation, when the economic prospects from new delivery forms are expected to be much clearer. The deal, in effect, postpones a fight that writers are waging now."