During an interview on Face the Nation last Sunday on CBS, IAC and Expedia Chairman Barry Diller had some dire predictions for the fate of Hollywood amidst ongoing strikes. Productions have ceased due to picketing from writers and recently joined by actors, Diller suggests this could have long-lasting “devastating” effects on the industry as a whole if not resolved soon.
“These conditions will potentially produce an absolute collapse of an entire industry,” said Diller as reported by CNBC. He went on to say contract negotiations are likely to go on for months as “there’s no trust between the parties.”
Diller proposes a solution to get negotiations started again. He said a “good faith measure” would be for top studio executives and top-paid actors to take a 25% cut in pay to “narrow the difference between those that get highly paid and those that don’t.”
However, pay isn’t the only concern on a long list of disputes brought up by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. Union members are highly concerned about the use of AI technology, part of which is the studios wanting to retain the rights to actors’ AI likenesses indefinitely.
Diller says AI is “overhyped to death” and insists writers will be assisted in their roles instead of being replaced entirely. “Most of these actual performing crafts, I don’t think they are in danger of artificial intelligence.”
He suggests September 1st as a date for union members and studios to come to an agreement to avoid a complete collapse of the entertainment industry. If networks and streaming services can’t provide new content, they’ll start hemorrhaging customers and subscribers, something Diller thinks they won’t be able to bounce back from if the strikes continue much longer.
The longer the strikes continue, such services will have little chance of recovering lost revenue and memberships. And Union members seem prepared to hold out for the long run, especially in light of recent rumors suggesting studios are prepared to wait until creatives have run out of resources before offering to resume negotiation talks.