Ted Sarandos on Writer’s Strike: Netflix is better prepared than most
The streamer’s co-CEO says they “have a strong slate of releases that will carry us for a long time.”
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said he doesn’t want a writers’ strike to hit Hollywood, but plans for the worst. And if there is a layoff, he says the streamer is “better than most.”
“We respect the writers and we respect the WGA, and we wouldn’t be here without them. We don’t want a strike. The last time there was a strike, it was devastating for the creators, it was very difficult for the industry. It was painful for the local economies that support the productions, and it was really bad for the fans,” Sarandos said in a Q1 2023 interview on Tuesday. “So if there is a strike and we want to work very hard to find a fair and equitable deal so we can avoid it.”
He continued: “But if anything, we have a large base of upcoming shows and movies from around the world, so we can probably serve our members better than most. We really don’t want that to happen, but we have to plan for the worst, so we have a pretty robust set of skins to see us through for a long time. But to be clear, we are here at the table and we are trying to find a fair solution so that there is no strike.”
Unlike other studios that have stockpiled scripts or quickly greenlit projects in the event of a strike, Netflix plans its plans well in advance on both the film and series side so that any disruption to Netflix-released shows is minimal. , at least in the short term.
The issue of streaming residuals has been one of the biggest issues in negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios. With fewer episodes produced for streaming than were traditionally produced for broadcast, and complicated and complex tools used to calculate the residual fees streamers pay writers for their work, many writers argued that once-steady sources of income were rapidly eroding.
Streaming is also a big culprit when it comes to the “mini rooms” trend that the guild wants to curb, as well as more consistent pay for variety or talk show writing, which is increasingly shifting to streaming and other “new media.”
The studios are sitting at the negotiating table before the May 1 deadline for the current minimum bargaining agreement with the label and the writers. Writers overwhelmingly approved this week that they are willing to strike if the parties cannot reach a fair settlement.
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