Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

How will the writers' strike impact the TV and film production industry?


Ampere Analysis Fred Black talks to TVBEurope about the impact the ongoing writers strike in the United States could have on both broadcast TV and streaming services, and the possibility of a true production shutdown this summer

By Jenny Priestley

Published: May 5, 2023 Updated: May 9, 2023

Ampere Analysis' Fred Black talks to TVBEurope about the impact the ongoing writers' strike in the United States could have on both broadcast TV and streaming services, and the possibility of a true production shutdown this summer

target=_blank title=Share on LinkedIn class=share-linkedin>

Earlier this week, Videndum (formerly Vitec) issued a profits warning, stating that it expects to see short-term demand for its products fall due to the writers' strike in the United States.

TV and film production is on hold after the Writers' Guild of America, which combines two different US labour unions representing TV and film writers in New York and Los Angeles, called a strike on Tuesday.

The union represents more than 11,500 writers across film, television and other entertainment forms and has been in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the film and TV production arms of companies like Disney, Netflix and Amazon. The WGA argues that writers have been negatively impacted by the streaming era and that studios including the major streamers, have created a gig economy inside a union workforce according to a statement released earlier this week.

The strike has already impacted the late-night US chat shows, which have all gone on hiatus. Some current UK-based productions are also feeling the effect. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, currently filming at Bray Studios, will finish shooting its second season without its showrunners, who are both supporting the strike.

The last major writers' strike lasted for 100 days, from November 2007 until February 2008. If that happens again, it could easily have an impact on the production industry in terms of the technology being bought or rented for production.

According to Fred Black, principal analyst at Ampere Analysis, two things will determine the strike's impact: Firstly, how long the strike takes to resolve. And secondly, how big an impact on the profitability of streaming services the conclusion has, Black tells TVBEurope.

Streaming services are under increased pressure to reach profitability, or at least show a clear path to get there. That's seen cost-cutting measures already, with the number of TV shows being commissioned drastically reduced, major job cuts, and the introduction of new monetisation methods like Netflix's ad tier. That's a tricky environment for these companies to consider paying writers substantially more for their work.

Black says the short-term impact of the strike is likely to be relatively limited, but should it continue into the summer then viewers will start to see the consequences, with premiere dates for the autumn pushed back, and increasingly severe impacts on the number of episodes produced for shows in the 2023-24 season.

That's bad news for those companies involved, he continues. While broadcast TV audiences are ebbing away, it's still very profitable, and these companies are invested in keeping it that way for as long as possible. One thing we saw over the pandemic is that when audience habits shift due to an extreme event, they never return to exactly how they were some ground may be recovered but not all of it.

Streaming platforms are likely to face less short-term issues as their content is produced further in advance of release, and the majority of content set to debut coming months is likely to already be in the can.

Asked if media companies can prepare themselves for issues brought about by the strike, Black says they absolutely can. But, those plans should have already been in place. This strike has been on the cards for a while, negotiations have been ongoing for months, he explains.

There have been plenty of early renewals at broadcast networks, allowing scripts to be written before the strike took effect, while unscripted content has been commissioned to cover gaps, and can continue to be produced throughout. Another solution that [broadcasters and streamers] can use is commissioning outside of the US. While US writers couldn't work on productions that simply switch base to London, projects from other countries are unaffected. Streaming services are already localising, and those that produce more of their content outside of the US will weather a local strike more easily. If the strike drags on, you may see streamers move even further in an international direction.

Black warns of another possible issue over the summer that companies should be preparing for now. The Directors and Screen Actors Guilds are due to open negotiations with AMPTP shortly ahead of a deadline of June 30th. Without writers, the industry can keep the lights on for a few months at least. Without actors or directors either, we have a true production shutdown, he says.

For an industry still feeling the after-effects of the pandemic, and which has been looking to cut costs while gaining subscribers, a strike that runs long enough to impact original content supplies would be a huge problem. Sitting least comfortably are companies still reliant on broadcast TV's profits, which will see them more rapidly exposed, says Black.

On the flipside, companies whose audience is primarily interested in reality TV, or those with investment in live sports (which will be unaffected), will be less exposed than those who are scripted-focused, he continues.

Within streaming, some platforms may be better stocked with completed content that's ready to go, or foreign commissions that will draw in a
See more stories from tvb

More from TVB Europe


The R&D and product development landscape: Black Box

By Jenny Priestley Published: September 27, 2023 John Hickey, senior director of R&D and KVM Systems, Black Box details how the company is driving innovati...


Vizrt heads to the metaverse with blinx

The company is working with start-up blinx, which delivers narratives produced by younger people, for younger people By Jenny Priestley Published: September ...


Finding the heart of Welcome to Wrexham: How the show's editor turns 30 hours of footage into each episode

TVBEurope sits down with editor Michael Brown to find out how he goes about cons...


Writers' Strike officially over; AI protections revealed

Writers are expected to return to work today even though the deal has yet to be voted on by the unions full membership By Jenny Priestley Published: Septembe...


Maidstone Studios enters The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

By Jenny Priestley Published: September 25, 2023 Updated: September 26, 2023 Maidstone Studios has played host to Wes Anderson's new Netflix film, Th...


Terms of WGA strike deal will set the playing field for the future of the TV and film industry'

[One of the] sticking points towards the end of the negotiation process was arou...


CVP opens new Central London flagship showroom

The new showroom will enable customers to interact with technology, including cameras, motion solutions, an LED volume stage, lighting solutions and a Monitor W...


Warner Bros Studios Leavesden spreads its wings, becomes home of DC Studios projects

The expansion will boost the total stage count from 19 to 29 and the overall pro...


IBC 2023: The vendors' view

From sustainability to AI, doing more for less and the on-going move to IP, TVBEurope hears from a number of exhibitors at IBC 2023 about the main talking point...


Regaining balance in the face of citizen journalism

The rise of citizen journalism has created several issues in recent years. As news sharing becomes increasingly decentralised, audiences are more likely to ques...


Rupert Murdoch's impact on media and entertainment cannot be underestimated'

Following the news Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of Media Corp and...


albert aims to help productions monitor their biodiversity

The guide includes a clear categorisation of the kinds of impacts a production could have on biodiversity, including in the supply chain and production practice...


Meet the SVP strategic analytics and business insights

V-Novas Guendalina Cobianchi explains why her kids describe her job as mamma looks at curves , and why she never looks back By Jenny Priestley Published: Se...


Shiny happy people!

By Jenny Priestley Published: September 21, 2023 Updated: September 25, 2023 TVBEurope celebrates the winners of our Best of Show at IBC 2023 Awards. Con...


IBC 2023: A showcase for how the media industry can evolve

Andy Walker, global communications and media industry lead, Accenture, outlines some of his key talking points at IBC 2023, including cloud, artificial intellig...


Navigating the boundless seas of visual artistry

Laura Usaite, VFX lead on No Escape, tells Robert Shepherd about the intricate process of breathing life and vitality into the Paramount tropical thriller By ...


Meet the SVP business development and partnerships

V-Novas Guendalina Cobianchi explains why her kids describe her job as mamma looks at curves , and why she never looks back By Jenny Priestley Published: Se...


ITV Studios standardises post production workflows with Avid

The new agreement will provide ITV Studios' international labels with subscriptions to the Avid NEXIS F-Series storage engines, and Media Composer video edi...


Blackmagic adds digital film camera controls to the iPhone

Blackmagic Camera is available from the Apple app store, free of charge, and enables users to adjust settings such as frame rate, shutter angle, white balance a...


TVBEurope Best of Show at IBC 2023 winners announced

By James McKeown Published: September 18, 2023 Updated: September 21, 2023 Future's Best of Show at IBC 2023 awards have been announced, with exhibit...


Rise Awards announces 2023 shortlist

Rise said it received over 300 nominations for this years awards. The winners will be revealed at a ceremony at Londons Troxy on 7th November By Jenny Priestle...


IBC 2023 welcomes 43,000 attendees, 1,250 exhibitors; announces 2024 dates

Organisers hailed a show with a real sense of purpose By Jenny Priestley Published: September 19, 2023 Updated: September 20, 2023 Organisers hailed a ...


Simon Farnsworth appointed ITV chief technology officer

He will take up his new role in early 2024, and be responsible for leading the broadcasters group-wide technology strategy, overseeing infrastructure, tech arch...


Tales from Amsterdam

TVBEurope editor Jenny Priestley rounds up her key talking points from IBC 2023 By Jenny Priestley Published: September 19, 2023 Updated: September 20, 202...


Bectu tells AMPTP UK crews are paying for failed negotiations'

Bectu head Philippa Childs said it is time the AMPTP recognises that this workforce deserves a fair contract, to work reasonable hours and to have confidence th...


BlueBolt brings visual effects to The Great season 3

BlueBolt delivered 369 VFX shots for season three; recreating 18th century Russia with crowd duplication in key settings, squib hits, and muzzle flashes, in add...


UK government responds to petition calling for more support during Hollywood strikes

The petition, launched last month, states that the UK's freelance production...


How Vizrt is aiming to marry broadcast and Pro AV under one brand

TVBEurope talks to Vizrt CEO Michael Hall n about the companys recent decision to bring NewTek and Vizrt under one brand By Jenny Priestley Published: Septem...


How cinematic tech is adding artistry to the world of sport

TVBEurope speaks to a cinematic lens manufacturer, service provider and leading sports broadcaster to get their thoughts on why cinematic technology is seeing b...


The R&D and product development landscape: Cinedeck

By Jenny Priestley Published: September 14, 2023 Updated: September 15, 2023 Jane Sung, COO, Cinedeck tells TVBEurope how the company quickly developed c...


Adobe adds new AI and 3D innovations to its video and audio applications

All the new features are available now in beta and are planned to be generally available later in the autumn, said the company By Jenny Priestley Published: ...


Sony introduces new camera designed for single-camera operators and small crews

Using the colour science of Sonys VENICE cameras, BURANO features an 8.6K full-frame sensor, as well as the ability to shoot at full-frame, Super 35 By Jenny P...


Ten reasons why we're excited about IBC 2023

From new technologies to flash mobs, this years keynote speaker to our own Best of Show Awards, this is whats on the TVBEurope teams radar at IBC Show 2023 By ...


EditShare, Shift Media merge to increase global reach

Speaking exclusively to TVBEurope, CEO Ramu Potarazu says the decision to merge the two companies will give the new entity a global reach, and a broader solutio...


My IBC: Olly Strous, chief technology officer, Zinc Media Group

By Jenny Priestley Published: September 11, 2023 Updated: September 12, 2023 Zinc Media Group's Olly Strous explains why IBC is critical for cultivat...


Framing Fear on The Nun II

Renowned cinematographer Tristan Nyby tells Robert Shepherd about his approach to lighting and capturing the highly anticipated horror sequel, The Nun II By C...


TVBEurope's September 2023 issue now available

The new issue focuses on remote production, the cloud, and takes a look at how artificial intelligence is generating a new approach to content creation By Jenn...


Report reveals shifts in media technology buying decisions

The report, by Bubble Agency and Caretta Research, also found three-quarters of vendors and buyers are seeing the need to tighten belts By Jenny Priestley Pu...


The R&D and product development landscape: Videndum

By Jenny Priestley Published: September 8, 2023 Nicola Dal Toso, CEO, Videndum, tells TVBEurope about the company's focus on finding lower-emission alt...


Grass Valley reports it doubled its earnings in the last year

As part of its update, Grass Valley revealed Jon Wilson is joining the company as chief operating officer from 1st October By Jenny Priestley Published: Sept...


Meet the business development manager

By Jenny Priestley Published: September 8, 2023 Updated: September 11, 2023 Ben Gunkel, business development manager, Verso Live, reveals how he got his ...


The convergence of video and social responsibility

Media has the power to democratise access to information and enables like-minded individuals to connect, collaborate, and advocate for a better future. They jus...


The R&D and product development landscape: Appear

By Jenny Priestley Published: September 7, 2023 Updated: September 8, 2023 Annette Hopland, product owner at Appear, tells TVBEurope why she believes SRT...


Polly Cochrane joins NFTS' board of governors

According to the NFTS, Cochranes extensive experience in marketing and communications will prove invaluable to the school as it looks to deliver a step-change a...


Cooke Optics debuts new lenses aimed at owner/operators

Cooke said the boundaries between cinematography and videography are blurring with the launch of the new lenses By Jenny Priestley Published: September 6, 20...


Signiant, TMT Insights aim to help content creators optimise their supply chains

The companies plan to jointly deliver an early adopter bundle that includes a headless, API-only implementation of the Signiant workflow offering working in con...


Merapar appoints new CEO

Alex Terpstra joins the company from previous roles with the likes of Civolution and Philips, and has a strong track record in building and scaling high-growth ...


Are you being served? The changing customer-supplier relationship

TVBEurope columnist Neil Mayock looks at how the technology shift in the media industry to IT and software is also changing the supplier/customer relationship, ...


Sky Studios Elstree installs 3MW solar roof panel array

A total of 7,400 solar panels have been installed, which will reduce the studios carbon emissions by 487 tonnes By Jenny Priestley Published: September 5, 20...


Meet the IBC innovation lead and council chair

From working with the likes of Queen, David Bowie and U2, to leading IBCs innovation programme, Mark Smith tells TVBEurope about his varied career, and why he b...