Monday, July 01, 2013

Fewer Writers, More Money

The WGAw reports:

The Writers Guild of America West saw total earnings rise by 4.0% in 2012 to $1.02 billion, the organization said today in its annual report. Even though the total number of writers’ reporting earnings dipped from 2011’s 4,558 to 4,510 in 2012, the earnings were up from the $982 million the Guild reported in 2011. The WGAW itself ended the year with net assets of $39 million and an operating surplus of $4.5 million based on revenues of $28.8 million. ...

Overall residuals collected by the Guild were up 5.7% over 2011 to an all-time high of $348.67 million with the biggest single increase from the likes of Netflix and Hulu which went up from $4.21 million in 2011 to $11.26 million in 2012. ...

The IATSE (our mother international) saw the residuals* that flow into the Motion Picture Industry Health and Pension Plan also hit a new high -- $400 million.

Interesting factoids about writers and earnings in the Guild's report: 2012 is the first year that earnings have outpaced 2007 earnings. Five years ago, 4,696 writers reported total earnings of $986.4 million. This year, it was 4,510 reporting $1.02 billion.

It's always good to have frames of reference. (TAG, by the way, has no way to track its members' earnings, since wages aren't reported to us.)

* Residuals are paid by studios to all the entertainment guilds and unions; each takes residuals in a different way. The IA, in the early sixties, negotiated a deal that put residual money into its pension and health plans. The other unions opted for "mailbox residuals."


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