Howard Rodman had an excellent article today in the LA TIMES on the issues the WGA is fighting for…and why we may need to strike to get a fair deal for writers. He says, in part:
First, the companies are still refusing to raise the rate they pay in DVD residuals. […]That decades-old formula is such a thin slice of a thin slice that on each disc, the companies pay more to the manufacturer of the box and packaging (about 50 cents) than they pay in residuals to the writer, director and actors combined (about 20 cents).
[…]Published reports show that the operating income of the entertainment segments of the nation’s media conglomerates has grown at a compound annual rate of 12% between 2000 and 2006, from $8 billion to $18 billion. I guess they just don’t have enough to pay the people who made those revenues possible.
[…]What’s more, the companies refuse to let writers share appropriately in the revenue stream from material distributed over the Internet. They claim that this torrent is at present only a trickle, that there is no "business model," that this all needs to be "studied." And while they search for that elusive business model, they are offering to pay us at those antiquated fraction-of-a-fraction rates. Never mind that, even now, this unstudied trickle is making them millions: Each studio or network has cited $500 million or more a year in online revenue.