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HomeBlog the LineNY Times: Producers Want to Do Away with Residuals

NY Times: Producers Want to Do Away with Residuals

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Wow. Talk about guaranteeing a strike. Then again, maybe it’s some over-the-top pre-strike bluff, designed to make writers and actors grateful for anything they get, with the idea of pesky “new media” revenue sharing all but forgotten.

Then again, maybe the writers can ju-jitsu this by calling the producers’ bluff, and insisting all current and future revenue be put equally, without restraint, into this proposed “pool.”

As ever, stay tuned.

Hollywood Officials Seek End to System of Paying Residuals

By MICHAEL CIEPLY
Published: July 12, 2007

ENCINO, Calif., July 11 — In an unusually blunt session here on Wednesday, several of Hollywood’s highest-ranking executives called for the end of the entertainment industry’s decades-old system of paying so-called residuals for the reuse of movie and television programs after their initial showings.

The executives stopped short of saying they would demand an immediate end to residuals in the coming, and most likely difficult, negotiations with writers, actors and directors. But they were emphatic in calling for the dismantling of a system under which specific payments are made when movies and programs are put on DVD, shown abroad or otherwise resold.

Instead, all such revenues would be pooled and companies would be able to recover their costs before sharing profits with the performers, writers and directors.

“There are no ancillary markets anymore; it’s all one market,” said Barry M. Meyer, chief executive of Warner Brothers. “This is the time to do it.”

The briefing at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, an industry bargaining group, was conducted by Mr. Meyer, Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS, and Anne Sweeney, president of the Walt Disney-ABC Television Group, along with the alliance’s president, J. Nicholas Counter. It was intended to set the stage for Monday’s opening of contract talks with the Writers Guild of America unions on both coasts.

In a statement, John F. Bowman, who will lead the writers’ negotiating committee in the talks, flatly rejected the idea of replacing residuals with a profit-based formula. “Our members can’t rely on Hollywood accounting,” Mr. Bowman’s statement said. “The companies have lost the right to talk about a profit basis for residuals.”

(more at the link)

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