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Thousands of TV and film writers are striking. Here’s why we had to | Michael Jamin

Studio profits have increased by 39% over the past 10 years – yet the average writer’s salary has gone down by 4%

On Tuesday, the Writers Guild of America, or WGA, was forced to go on strike. The reason is, as always, economic. The major Hollywood studios have changed their business model from broadcast to streaming. Once we watched our favorite TV shows by satellite dish; now we watch them over the internet. It doesn’t really change the work, however.

The studios are, of course, entitled to change their business model. Their goal is to maximize profits – and they’re doing a great job of it. The resulting change has increased studio profits by 39% over the past 10 years. Yet in that same time period, the average writer’s salary has gone down 4%. The pie has gotten larger, but writers’ share of that pie has significantly decreased. Ultimately, the way screenwriters are compensated for their work needs to be updated: we’re being paid according to the old business model, not the new.

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