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Netflix May Have a Better Chance of Weathering a Writers Strike Than Other Networks, Says Ted Sarandos


A day after industry writers voted overwhelmingly to approve a potential strike, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos weighed in on how the streamer would fare if a work stoppage became a reality.

“If there is, we have a host of upcoming shows and movies from around the world. We could probably serve our members better than most,” the director said during a Tuesday call for the streamer. “We really don’t want this to happen, but we have to plan for the worst (case scenario) and so we have a pretty robust set of releases to last us a long time.”

Contract negotiations between the Writers Guild of America union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the studios and streamers, have been underway since March 20, with the parties last meeting on Monday. That same day, the WGA announced that nearly 98 percent of its members had voted to strike in a record referendum that was also unprecedented for the union in terms of turnout.

During his remarks on Wednesday, Sarandos carefully made it clear that “we are sitting at the table and we will try to find a fair solution so that there is no strike.”

The co-CEO — whose service was largely a DVD mail-order company that was at the beginning of its streaming push when writers last hit in 2007-2008 — called that work stoppage “devastating for creators.” He added that it was “very hard for the industry, it was painful for local economies that support manufacturing and it was very, very, very bad for fans.”

While the future of the writer’s contract — which expires in less than two weeks, on May 1 — remains up in the air, Sarandos still predicted a rise in content spending over the next several years. While these expenses depend on revenue growth, the co-CEO estimated that the service will “go back to about $17 billion by 2024.”

While rumors of a possible writer’s strike have swept the industry for months, companies have tried to prepare by stockpiling scripts, handing out early renewals, and collecting unscripted titles that aren’t beholden to unionized writers. If a strike does happen, Netflix could potentially benefit from its habit of working way ahead of the release date of some shows, which Sarandos praised in 2020, at the height of the industry’s disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. “One of the benefits of releasing our series all at once is that we’re working way ahead of our release cycle,” he said during a July 16, 2020 Netflix earnings call. flow (of titles during the pandemic).”

While studio and streaming executives have remained fairly quiet during the negotiations with the writers, David Zaslav, president and CEO of Warner Bros. for all parties.” (Zaslav also promoted the series of content that would be ready to go on his company’s streamer, Max, if a work stoppage occurred.)

Meanwhile, in a rare statement on Monday, the AMPTP said the WGA’s ratification of a strike authorization was “inevitable” and that a deal “is only possible if the Guild is determined to focus on serious negotiations by engaging in full discussions on the problems with the companies and the search for reasonable compromises.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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