Directors Guild reaches deal with studios as writers strike continues

The Directors Guild of America reaches a deal with studios over wages and benefits, while the Hollywood writers strike continues to put pressure on studio representatives. Yahoo Finance Live discusses the latest developments.

Video Transcript

ALLIE GARFINKLE: Moving on from layoffs to an ongoing writer's strike in Hollywood entering its sixth week, we did get some positive news out of Hollywood with the Directors Guild of America striking a tentative deal with studios. This deal includes gains in wages and benefits, a 76% increase in foreign streaming residuals, which is a type of royalty payment, along with a, quote, "groundbreaking agreement" in regards to AI. And we do know that artificial intelligence has been more of a near-term threat for a lot of these jobs and the creative industries.

However, what I've been hearing, what I've been reading, it's not going to really move the needle in terms of those ongoing negotiations with the WGA. We have SAG-AFTRA, that's the union that represents actors. Their negotiations start this week. It seems like it's every man for himself a little bit. And the WGA is really sticking to their guns that right now they are looking for a very specific deal. And just because the DGA was able to strike one doesn't mean that that's going to fly with them.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah. Which makes the SAG-AFTRA discussions even more interesting, right, because that has always been seen as sort of the first thing that studios want. They want to discuss the DGA first, reach a deal. They've got that deal. They want to do SAG-AFTRA, then go back to the WGA. If SAG-AFTRA, those discussions hit a snag, then what happens? That could mean a more prolonged strike at least on the writers side.

ALLIE GARFINKLE: That's essentially what we saw in the last writers strike, right? They struck that deal with the DGA. And then the WGA came later. But that is something that the Writers Guild is saying they don't want to happen again. They have very certain terms. And they want to make sure that the studios aren't cherry-picking just because they have this current deal on the table with the directors.

SEANA SMITH: And obviously, this is having a massive impact answer many of the media giants out there. But I know, Akiko, you were out last week, talking to some smaller business owners just exactly about the ripple effects that a strike like this has on the economy and certainly, affecting a number of businesses that maybe you wouldn't think about. You write about a dry local dry cleaners to restaurants, things of that nature, that are feeling the impact of so many people of so many writers still being on strike.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah. I mean, real estate, another one. We were talking about earlier realtors who are just saying, look, there's a lot of writers in this town that get paid well. The longer they go without working, you know, maybe that starts to take a hit, too. The interesting thing for me, though, is that in all the conversations you have with writers, you know, how are you going to let your finances-- how are you going to meet your finances longer this goes on, they all say, look, this is kind of how the structure already worked. You know, you go with 10 episodes, and then you don't work for six months. Sometimes you don't work for a year.

And so they are prepared to be in it for the long haul because of how the structure already is. And you know, you have to wonder how it--

JOSH SCHAFER: My biggest question about this-- and Allie, I'm sure you're tracking this part of it-- how long does this need to go on until we start missing shows? For me, I remember "Friday Night Lights" got ruined by the last writers' strike.

ALLIE GARFINKLE: I remember "Grey's Anatomy."

JOSH SCHAFER: If my main-- my main memory of the last writers strike from a consumer standpoint, I'm wondering how long this goes until we start missing some episodes--

SEANA SMITH: That's already starting to happen to a certain degree, right, just in terms of the delays that the--


JOSH SCHAFER: Right. But when do we see that on the streaming side, I guess, is my question, because those shows--

AKIKO FUJITA: How long as that pipeline and one that's really--

JOSH SCHAFER: Is it October comes, and then all of a sudden there's no new TV? I don't know.

ALLIE GARFINKLE: And you know, I'm watching "Ted Lasso." I just finish up the third season. And that was heavily delayed due to COVID and due to other things. So I also feel the consumer has just gotten used to a delay in our favorite shows. And I know I always need to go back and rewatch recaps just to understand what happened.

AKIKO FUJITA: Because you go like two years.

JOSH SCHAFER: It's always two years to anyone.

ALLIE GARFINKLE: It's always two years. And I think that is a big question is, how is this going to impact the consumer, their favorite shows? All these streaming platforms have said, look, right now, we have enough content banked. But I think if we see this continue throughout the summer into the fall, we've got a problem.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah. I will say, I always leave way too much time, even if the show does come out. I just started the second season of "Bridgerton." That season has been out for some time. Especially with my husband last night, and we're like, what happened? Neither of us had any ideas.


ALLIE GARFINKLE: Recap. The recap business.

AKIKO FUJITA: I haven't finished "Succession" yet, and I've stayed away, so no spoilers, no spoilers.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah. That's another one. I haven't started that latest season yet either, right? Allie and Josh, thanks so much.