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With the rise of streaming services, TV shows and movies have never been more readily available. In today’s world, the concept of sitting down at a set time to catch the latest episode of your favorite series feels almost ludicrous. Instead, we are now accustomed to binge-watching unlimited episodes when they drop onto a streaming platform such as Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+.
Yet, while some may call this period of mass production a ‘Golden Age,’ there are broader implications on the production side that accompany this content boom. As audiences at home experience the benefits of unlimited content, there are many sacrifices taking place behind the scenes.
Writers unionized under the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) began their strike at the end of April 2023. The writers are united under the stance that their pay and working conditions have stagnated, despite the billions of dollars being poured into streaming services, and that they are not receiving livable compensation or fair treatment. In solidarity with the WGA’s strike, the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG-AFTRA) also declared a strike on July 14th, 2023. Their demands are aligned with the WGA, citing concerns about fair payment, the use of AI, and overall limited consideration of individual well-being from studios. With both writers and actors currently on strike, TV and film production have come to a halt.
TV and film writers want to ensure that their working environments are conducive to growth in their field. In years past, writers have joined production staff as assistants, and then gradually moved into more senior positions. However, opportunities for advancement have been depleted as writers are hired to work for shorter and shorter seasons. Rather than being given the chance to learn the ropes and work their way up, they are often left to find new jobs after working on a show for just a few weeks. In addition, the introduction of mini-rooms, unofficial writers’ rooms assembled before a show is green-lit, has become another loophole for studios to pay creatives less.
Another major concern for writers and actors is the growing creative threat of artificial intelligence (AI). Today’s AI has the potential to mimic existing content to generate new show concepts and scripts – or use someone’s likeness from one production in another. When you consider that more than 80 percent of viewing on Netflix is fueled by the AI recommendation feature, it is no wonder that creative professionals fear for their future. There is certainly a place for the introduction of AI in the film and TV realm, but it must be integrated with human creative power. The WGA is demanding guard rails be put in place to prevent studios from using AI to write, edit, or alter existing content. Still, the cost benefits of using AI are appealing to studios as streaming platforms struggle to grow and maintain their viewership.
Historically, writers’ strikes have lasted for weeks or even months – the 2007 writers’ strike endured for 14 weeks. Events like these often shape TV and film history and can set the stage for a burst of innovation and creativity. For instance, unscripted television, like reality TV, prospered during the 2007 strike and may experience a surge in popularity this year.
As the entertainment landscape continues to evolve, marketers may be forced to explore alternative approaches when creating upcoming media plans. The writer’s strike is indicative of how the television and film industries are changing, but these changes offer new ways to reach and engage potential audiences. Cadent’s strategic linear and CTV solutions are tailored to meet your advertising needs during these challenging times.
Learn how Cadent can support your upcoming campaigns during these challenging times.