Home Technology Hollywood’s Operations to be Transformed by New WGA Contract

Hollywood’s Operations to be Transformed by New WGA Contract

Hollywood’s Operations to be Transformed by New WGA Contract

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has released a historic summary of their new contract, highlighting significant pay increases and protections against artificial intelligence (AI) in the entertainment industry. The pay increases cover various categories, including “high budget subscription video on demand” and streaming films. Writers of streaming features are expected to see an 18% minimum compensation increase if the film is budgeted at over $30 million, along with a 26% increase in residual base. On the AI front, the WGA achieved their demand for limitations on AI-generated material, ensuring that AI cannot write or rewrite literary material and that it cannot be used as source material.

The WGA also included protections against the exploitation of writers’ material for AI training, reserving the right to assert that such exploitation is prohibited by the contract or other laws. This provision may be relevant to proposed laws in California that aim to regulate the use of materials for AI training. The WGA’s focus on AI is seen as significant, but some experts argue that the real game-changer is the access to data. Historically, streaming data has been concealed in a black hole, making it difficult for industry professionals to gauge the success of projects. However, the new contract mandates that studios provide the WGA with actual data on the total number of hours streamed domestically and internationally for self-produced high-budget streaming programs. This data transparency will provide a more nuanced understanding of the streaming industry and challenge streamers’ ability to manipulate the narrative of a project’s success or failure.

By opening the door to real, verifiable data, the WGA is disrupting the data opacity that has allowed the streaming industry to mold its own narratives. The availability of hard data to WGA members will make it harder for streamers to fabricate success stories or cancel shows based on misleading metrics. This development marks a significant shift in the industry, where fiction is often used to shape perceptions. With this newfound access to data, the WGA seeks to bring transparency and accountability to the streaming business, ensuring that the actual numbers reflect the reality of a project’s performance.

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