Writers Guild of America (WGA) union writers have officially gone on strike as of Monday, May 1st, 2023, after failing to reach a new agreement with Hollywood studios before the deadline.
The previous union contract has now expired, leaving the two sides far apart on agreeing terms.
The strike poses an issue for the content timeline of streaming services like Apple TV+. The strike could go on for months, potentially resulting in a drought of content, and delaying the release of new titles. Industry sources indicate that it could take more than three months for the guild and the studios to make a deal, as the 2007 writer’s strike lasted four months.
The WGA is fighting for better terms like higher base pay, higher residuals for streaming content, minimum numbers of writers on staff for shows, and more. The WGA has been officially negotiating with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which represents Hollywood studios, including streamers like Apple, since March, but the two sides failed to agree to a new deal.
Studios reportedly rushed to get as many scripts as possible finished before the May 1st deadline as most people expected the strike to happen. The strike will force Apple TV+ to extend its release schedules for new titles. Apple has approximately 30 known finished projects and about a dozen currently in production. Considering the pace at which Apple releases its shows, its content would run out in about eight months, forcing the streamer to slow down its planned number of releases for the foreseeable future.
Arguably one of the best Apple TV originals, Severance, is also reportedly being delayed due to a ‘toxic’ work environment, which surely wouldn’t help the streamer if it finds itself in a content drought.
There’s a possibility that things get even worse before they improve. The Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America are also getting ready to negotiate new deals this summer. SAG has also already declared its intention to support the Writers Guild.
Image credit: Apple