It's official: film and TV writers strike on Monday

As TV networks post an increasing number of TV shows online, the writers guild is demanding a share in ad revenues.

TV and film writers will officially go on strike starting Monday at 12:01 PST, a spokeswoman for the Writers Guild of America said on Friday.

As the weekend may bring more negotiating between the guild and the group representing film and TV producers, one of the main sticking points is Internet revenue, according to a story published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal.

The writers want a share of ad revenue generated by online broadcasts of TV shows. Producers insist that the Web is more of a promotional tool and hasn't brought in much money.

The dispute comes as TV networks and cable channels are posting more and more shows to the Web soon after they appear on television. For example, NBC Universal and News Corp. last week launched a test version of Hulu.com , a new online video outlet where full-length TV shows from both companies appear.

ABC, CBS, and Viacom have steadily increased the number of offerings online in recent months. Feature films are still too big to distribute easily over the Web, but it's generally believed technology improvements will likely solve those problems. The writers want assurances that when that happens they will share in the profits.

The writers say they're trying to avoid missing out on Internet money in the same way they missed out on the DVD bonanza that has fueled much of the growth in the film industry over the last decade.

The writers agreed to a deal soon after the mass adoption of the VCR that eventually earned them 4 cents per DVD sale. They now are demanding a bump to 8 cents.

According to several publications, the producers and writers remain far apart on this issue.

 

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