Writers Guild Posts Studio-by-Studio Forecast of How Much a Deal Would Cost

The Writers Guild of America is estimating that the cost of its current contract proposals for top studios and streamers would be $343 million, while the overall cost to the industry would be $429 million.

The union, which is currently on strike after talks stalled with the entertainment companies May 1, broke down these projected costs by employer in a chart sent to members Tuesday. Disney would incur $75 million annually, while the proposals would cost Netflix $68 million and Warner Bros. Discovery $47 million on a per-year basis, per the union’s calculations. The cost to Paramount Global and NBC Universal would be $45 million and $34 million, respectively, while Amazon would be set back $32 million.

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The guild then compared these costs to companies’ annual revenues and calculated the percentage that these costs would represent compared to those profits. The costs would account for 0.091 percent of Disney’s revenue, 0.214 of Netflix’s, 0.108 percent of Warner Bros. Discovery’s, 0.148 percent of Paramount Global’s, 0.028 percent of NBC Universal’s and 0.006 percent of Amazon’s, the WGA claims.

“The cost of these proposed improvements is modest compared to industry revenues and profits, but are essential to writers whose pay and working conditions have eroded over the past decade,” wrote the WGA’s negotiating committee, co-chaired by David Goodman and Chris Keyser.

The union negotiating committee added, “These companies have made billions in profit off writers’ work, and they tell their investors every quarter about the importance of scripted content. Yet they are risking significant continued disruption in the coming weeks and months that would far outweigh the costs of settling.”

Says one studio source, who points to current cost-savings at industry employers due to suspension of overall deals and lower production costs, “I question whether or not these numbers are based in fact.”

The Milken Institute has estimated that the 2007-08 writers strike cost the California economy $2.1 billion over the course of 100 days, with projected losses including $282.3 million for the information, leisure and hospitality sector, and $366.7 million for the professional and business services sector.

The WGA has been on strike since May 2 after the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to reach a deal on issues including the regulation of mini-rooms and artificial intelligence, as well as wage floors and residuals.

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