The Writers Guild – the WGA – has now been on strike for 126 days at the time of writing. The actors Guild now for 53 days. That is longer than many industry observers expected them to last. There is also no sign of the strikes stopping. Hollywood is frozen. Movies have been moved, productions shuttered, but those in the know are saying that if this goes past October then it is game over for serial shows for the rest of the year, and 2023s entire schedule at the movies is toast.
It’s puckering time! Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman-CEO Tony Vinciguerra appeared at a Q&A at the BoFA media conference this week and warned that if things don’t get sorted out soon, then the industry could very well have a major shortage of films in 2024:
“It is a very big concern that in… early to mid-2024, if we don’t end the strikes at some point, that there will not be a lot of films around… Once we do end the strikes, which will happen obviously, there’s going to be a gold rush to get actors and producers and directors back in production.”
All sides claim they want to make a deal, but the deal is simply not there to be made just yet. One of the biggest sticking points is streaming residuals and this is where a potential problem sits, like an undiagnosed but growing tumor, for the whole of the entertainment industry. That their current business model is fundamentally flawed.
The actors and the writers are all striking because they believe their efforts have created a big pot of money that all the studios and streamers are sitting on. They feel they should be getting a % every time their work is streamed.
However, we at Last Movie Outpost suggest these streamers aren’t making anywhere near as much money as many people think they are. In fact, judging by the speed they are pulling content to avoid paying fees, we would speculate many of these streamers are losing big money, and fast. Streaming services are notoriously guarded with the data and figures they release to the public, and even to investors, beyond subscription numbers. This pot of ca$h the strikers think they should be getting their hands on doesn’t actually exist.
So what do the streamers, which includes many studios, actually do? Do they pay out to end the strikes, so lose even more money? Or do they come clean and admit there simply isn’t any money? In this case, they have to face up to shareholders and tell them that these streaming services they have poured tens of millions of the investor’s money into are giant money pits and re-orientating their entire business model towards streaming has been a terrible mistake. They changed the Hollywood model, and have placed their big bets in the wrong place.
So they admit there isn’t any real money to be made in streaming now they have saturated the market by all launching a platform? Not compared to the licensing income they earned from content being licensed to others, forever. Just a money pit. It’s why they are pushing mid-tier nonsense like Lando and Armor Wars towards being movies.
If they do this, then shareholder anger will rip entire layers of senior leadership out of these companies and march them, career-wise, toward the gallows for a very public professional execution. Lose face at the strikes and lose money, or lose shareholder confidence and therefore your jobs. Rock, meet hard place! A Hollywood massacre may be about to take place.
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