The Writers Guide of America Calls Out Amazon, Netflix, and Disney For Dominating Media and Hurting Writers





The Writers Guild of America West released a statement yesterday calling out Disney, Amazon, and Netflix’s growing dominance in the streaming realm for contributing to the dysregulation of the entertainment industry, creating an environment where they’re the gatekeepers of media. 

The guild called for antitrust regulators and lawmakers to block deals that could create a monopoly and increase regulations across the streaming industry. The WGAW said since the industry is largely unregulated, vertical integrations and media consolidations generate a wealth of problems for creators, eroding the sustainability of the writing field.

WGA claims the extent of these platforms’ control over regulated markets allows them to undervalue services to maintain their dominance. The guild said Disney, Amazon, and Netflix increased market share through multiple acquisitions to the disadvantage of smaller competitors. The three streaming services could use this leverage to raise prices for subscribers and decrease creators’ wages.

That’s been the crux of why Hollywood writers have been on the picket line for more than 100 days. They’ve argued that the move to a streaming service model and the fact that there are fewer, more powerful studios has hurt their livelihood. 

Disney closed on a series of multibillion-dollar acquisitions, likely referring to its acquisition of Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Fox, which gave it the power to close competing studios and foreclose independent content from distribution networks, the WGA said. Amazon grew its media footprint also through anticompetitive behavior, harming competitors while leveraging its massive footprint to underpay writers. Netflix leans on its extensive and established presence to spend less on innovative content while raising members’ prices while “severely” underpaying writers. 

Amazon declined to comment, and Disney and Netflix were not immediately available.

Additional consolidation between media companies could prevent writers from earning a liveable income while also shrinking the variety of content, it said. The guild called for antitrust agencies and lawmakers to block further consolidation, proactively investigate anti-competitive issues and outcomes, and increase regulation and oversight in streaming.

“We’re transitioning from a period of rapid investment and competition that brought about new and diverse content to a monopolistic model that will concentrate control over entertainment programming in the hands of just a few large and powerful corporations,” said Laura Blum-Smith, research and public policy director at WGAW. “For writers, that means fewer buyers for their works, employers who exert more leverage in individual deal negotiations, and depressed pay and working conditions.”

The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers AMPTP have resumed meetings since last week and are likely to meet again today to continue contract renewal negotiations.

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