$250 Flat Fee Producers Offer Writers Guild for Internet Distribution Is Way Lame, Still Screws Writers

The Writers Guild strike languishes on: Heroes ends for the year next week. In a bid to end our suffering, the producers' trade group has made a "groundbreaking" offer to the Writers Guild, grandiosely titled the "New Economic Partnership." The deal's a mind-blowing less-than $250 flat fee for an hour-long show to be re-broadcast on the internet for up to a year. If you recall, internet distribution's sort of the sticking point and writers asked for 2.5 percent of the "distributors' gross revenue." Let us count the ways writers get screwed by the producers' Scrooge-y offer.

Ars points out that right now writers pull about four to six cents a DVD, so a two-million seller will bring them between $80,000 and $120,000 on a title raking in millions for the studio. Even though it's a less-than-stellar deal, at least it scales. The $250 flat internet re-distribution payment and fixed $1300 for 15 minutes of internet-only content doesn't, which is a problem in a couple of ways.

For one, these contracts are in place for a long time—when the initial deal regarding DVD sales were made, DVD wasn't very big. In today's climate, they're studios' biggest cash cows, and writers get the short end of the stick. This deal would lock them into the same rate for internet distribution and content, no matter how big new media gets, and it's obviously going to be huge, so they're standing to get screwed even harder here.

On a smaller scale, it means no matter how many clicks—and therefore ad dollars—a video drew, writers would still get the same tiny compensation. The guild's going over this "proposal" until Tuesday, when talks resume, but our feeling is that you better have a hard love for reruns, reality TV or YouTube. [Ars Technica]