The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has detailed its August 11 proposal to the Writers Guild of America on the heels of a meeting between guild leadership and Hollywood CEOs.
The bargaining group is proposing to ban written material produced by generative artificial intelligence from being considered “literary material” in the contract and to provide quarterly reports to the union detailing SVOD view hours per streaming project, the negotiating group revealed Tuesday night. The document detailing these and other proposals was released after a meeting occurred between top CEOs and guild leadership on Tuesday night, per a studio-side source.
In a rare statement accompanying the information, AMPTP president Carol Lombardini said, “Our priority is to end the strike so that valued members of the creative community can return to what they do best and to end the hardships that so many people and businesses that service the industry are experiencing.” Lombardini added that the studios’ offer “meets the priority concerns the writers have expressed” and that the AMPTP is “deeply committed to ending the strike and are hopeful that the WGA will work toward the same resolution.”
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the WGA for comment.
In addition to barring work produced by generative A.I. from being considered “literary material” under the contract, the companies have also proposed to offer certain guardrails when management gives a writer A.I.-produced writing that “has not been previously published or exploited.” The A.I.-produced content will not be factored in as “assigned material” when it comes to paying the writer and it will not factor into credit discussions. The fact that the material was written by A.I. will have to be made known to the writer and the A.I.-generated content “will not be the basis for disqualifying a writer from eligibility for separated rights.” The WGA initially sought to ban A.I.-produced work from being considered “source” or “literary” material and to forestall any writing covered under its contract from being used to train A.I.
The AMPTP is offering the WGA a 5 percent increase in wage rates in the first year of the contract, 4 percent in the second year and 3.5 percent in the third year, which is what the Directors Guild of America won in its contract negotiations earlier this year. (It is slightly lower than the 6-5-5 formula that the WGA initially proposed.) On residuals, the AMPTP is offering high-budget SVOD total worldwide residual boosts to $87,546 per episode for three exhibition years from $72,067. The worldwide residual would also jump to $156,854 from $124,615 over ten exhibition years.
One proposal that was especially touted was the AMPTP’s offer of more data regarding how films and TV shows are performing on streaming platforms. The group is suggesting that member companies provide the WGA with confidential, quarterly reports that will list the total number of SVOD hours viewed on particular projects. “This increased transparency will enable the WGA to develop proposals to restructure the current SVOD residual regime in the future,” the AMPTP suggested in its proposal. The WGA had been seeking a viewership-based streaming residual that would recompense writers with successful projects on streaming and sought “transparency regarding program views.”
On writers’ core issue of minimum durations and staffing for writers’ rooms, the AMPTP says it proposed a minimum of 10 weeks of employment on high-budget SVOD and Pay TV series “development rooms” (a term that can include pre- and post-greenlight rooms). The AMPTP did not accede to the WGA’s minimum staffing requests, but addressed the issue with a proposal where, on high-budget SVOD and Pay TV series, “the Showrunner may select at least two writers to be employed (together with the Showrunner) for a period of at least twenty (20) consecutive weeks in the writers’ room.”
During the parties’ previous talks on Aug. 18, the AMPTP responded to the WGA’s latest proposals, and now the ball is in the union’s court, per a studio-side source. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s top CEOs met on Friday morning to discuss the negotiations that have continued throughout that week.
These developments unfolded on the 114th day of the Writers Guild of America strike, which has now stretched on longer than the union’s last strike in 2007-08 (which lasted 100 days). Formal talks between management and labor first resumed Aug. 11, over three months after the union initially called a strike that began May 2 in the absence of a deal over a new three-year contract.
In the days since Aug. 11, the two sides have continuously met, leaving management-side sources with a sense that the talks are progressing but not yet at a conclusion. “Everybody is trying to step up and make a resolution,” one executive told THR. The Writers Guild of America has not updated its members on the state of talks since Aug. 18, when it said that the two sides had “met this week and continued to exchange proposals. We will continue to meet next week.”
Lesley Goldberg contributed reporting.