The Hollywood strike can drag losses of 4,000 million for the US
The dispute between Hollywood actors and scriptwriters -currently on strike- and the big studios is a “lost fight” that could cause damage of 4,000 million dollars (more than 3,554 million euros) in the US economy, according to experts consulted by EFE. “Assuming that the actors’ strike lasts from 30 to 60 days, adding that of the writers, it is estimated that there will be losses of 4,000 million dollars nationwide,” Kevin Klowden, head of global strategy at the Milken Institute in California, said in an interview with EFE.
The negative impact that the cessation of activities is already having currently makes the analyst consider that the conflict is a confrontation that “no one will win”, even if both parties find a solution. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) launched a historic work stoppage on Thursday July 13 – the first to run alongside the Screenwriters Guild (WGA) walkouts in 63 years – after they failed to reach an agreement to sign a new collective agreement with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP).
This has paralyzed the production, filming, and promotion of audiovisual projects, affecting not only people from the entertainment industry, such as movie theaters and foreign television channels, but all support sectors, as well as catering, construction, clothing rental, cleaning, logistics, or transportation companies, among others. The actors demand regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), higher salaries in the compensation that artists receive each time a streaming service sells the rights to a production to a new market, as well as increases in minimum wages, among other demands.
While the AMPTP counters petitions alleging that the industry has not yet fully recovered from the pandemic and that the instability of the subscription-based economic model of streaming platforms remain unstable and unprofitable. “Both sides recognize that the industry has changed thanks to ‘streaming’ and practically everyone is discussing how they are going to divide the money that is generated from the platforms,” Robert Thompson, a professor at Syracuse University (New York) and founder of the Bleier Center for Television, told EFE.
How long can the conflict extend?
When analyzing the duration of other Hollywood strikes in the past, Mark Young, an entertainment specialist and professor at the Marshall School of Business (University of Southern California), considered it “very difficult” to try to predict how long this situation will last, but anticipates that it could be several months. Thompson also cannot estimate an exact date for the end of the strikesince he believes that the problems that have to be addressed in the negotiations are “much more complicated” than in the previous strikes, without seeing the possibility of the labor dispute being resolved in September.
Klowden, for his part, He sees possibilities that the break ends at the end of August to avoid more severe effects on the shooting and production schedules of more titles. The expert even valued that the unblocking of the AMPTP negotiations with the SAG-AFTRA would make the WGA also reach an agreement in its agreement.
Wave of strikes in the country
The Hollywood strikes are not the only ones active in the United States currently. Recently hotel workers, represented by the union Unite here! Local 11 in southern California and Arizona have gone on a five-day walkout, while thousands of Teamsters union workers at the largest package carrier in the United States, UPS, threaten to go on strike on August 1.
The four trades have common requirements that include wage increases and improvements in working conditions. “We can see that companies see labor as a cost risk. And that with technology they only seek to increase efficiency in all sectors, but everything has a limit,” said the expert from the Milken Institute of California.
In his opinion, this is not a struggle of the workers -especially those of Hollywood- against the new technologies, but with it they seek to establish rules that protect the integrity of their employees based on their regulation and the establishment of norms that describe what can or cannot be done with them.