The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has released a summary of its new contract, which includes significant pay increases and regulations around artificial intelligence (AI). The pay increases cover various areas, with notable raises for streaming films and “high budget subscription video on demand” platforms like Netflix. Writers of streaming features will see a minimum compensation increase of 18 percent for films with a budget of at least $30 million, along with a 26 percent increase in residual base. On the AI front, the WGA successfully ensured that AI will not be able to write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material cannot be used as source material for scripts.
Moreover, the WGA has the right to prohibit the exploitation of writers’ material for AI training, as per their contract. This provision allows the WGA to raise concerns if laws change or if AI training becomes controversial for guild members. While AI has gained attention, some believe that data is the real game changer. Streaming data has been a black hole for Hollywood projects, making it difficult to assess project performance and determine fair compensation. However, under the new contract, studios will be required to provide the WGA with detailed streaming data, including the total number of hours streamed domestically and internationally. This move aims to provide a more transparent understanding of the business of streaming.
Ultimately, the release of actual streaming data will make it harder for streamers to claim success for projects that have not gained significant recognition among audiences. The WGA’s new contract marks a historic achievement in terms of pay increases and AI regulations, while also addressing the need for transparency in the streaming industry.