Looking for a Piece of the DVD Pie

Screenwriters Denounce Offer From Studios as ‘Unacceptable’

In their proposal, Hollywood studios have offered no increases in royalties in the lucrative DVD and videocassette market, one of the main issues dividing the two sides, and have not addressed the status of writers on television reality shows or royalties on Internet sales, both sides said.

[…] Since negotiations have intensified in recent days, the studios have proposed raises in their minimum payments to writers, payments to the guild-run health care plan and raises in the pay television arena, according to people close to the talks. The studios also offered concessions in the area of creative rights, relating to matters like credit and script receipts.

But there was nothing in the proposal at all that related to the most important issue in the talks, that of the DVD market, whose revenues have exploded since the negotiation of the last three-year agreement. The studios have insisted that they need every penny of DVD profits to offset the rising cost of producing and marketing films, and to fend off the threat of piracy.

But guild leaders said the studios had not proved that contention. Mr. Petrie said: “The companies have refused to supply any data to support their assertion that 9 out of 10 films do not ‘break even.’ They haven’t even defined ‘break even.’ ”