Poll: 63 percent support writers in strike

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Hollywood has become divided over the Writers Guild of America strike. On one side, you have the writers (WGA members) who are looking for an increase in residuals for shows they pen that are sold on DVD and and anything from shows streamed online. On the other side, you have the studio executives (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers or AMPTP) who say programs shown online are merely promotional and don't generate revenue (yet there are ads during the streaming).

While those sides are clearly defined, the public's stance on the issue isn't. To gather some sort of insight into the matter, Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business Management decided to poll Americans and figure out which side they support.

The results were released to the Los Angeles Times today, and almost two out of three Americans side with the writers. To be exact, 63 percent were in favor of the writers, 33 percent were unsure of which side they supported, and a measly 4 percent favored the studios. This doesn't necessarily mean the entire public is against the producers; the poll had only 1,000 participants.

The study also found that a plurality--47 percent--thought the writers deserved the lion's share of revenue from show profits. Only one quarter of those surveyed believe the producers should make the most money.

With reruns expected to replace new shows once the well runs dry, 42 percent of those polled said they would read more and 35 percent said they would hang out online once networks run out of new material.

"It is not uncommon for the public to be sympathetic toward the side striking in a labor dispute," David Smith, a labor economist at Pepperdine, told the Times. "However, it is somewhat surprising to see overwhelming support from Americans for the creative side of the industry."

As for the AMPTP's reaction to the results? "You'd expect noting less when the only real information the public is getting is from sound bites and the issues are as complex as these," said a representative for the organization.

For more on the writers strike, check out TV.com's Strike Source, featuring up-to-date statuses on shows, the latest information, and more.

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Nov 19, 2007
They should get over with it and stop making us suffer.
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Nov 18, 2007
I'm with the writers. If the actors and networks get paid for DVD sales and the like why shouldn't the writers?? They deserve to get paid for it like everyone else. It's not about greed and wanting more money. It's about getting paid for your work. If actors and networks didn't get paid then it wouldn't be a big deal. They all deserve to get paid. And someone said they get paid enough. How do you know what they get paid?? Wouldn't you want to get paid for your work?? I know I sure as hell would!
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Nov 18, 2007
The writers are always the ones who get screwed the most. As someone who has tried being a writer, I totally empathize with them. I hope they get what they want.
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Nov 18, 2007
Skyvolt2000 wrote "Why don't they complete thsi tv season and then strike."

Easy: Hit them when it hurts, otherwise they won't get the message. An unfortunate downside of this is that we (viewers) end up getting the short end of the stick too, not just the studios.

Guess it's time to start buying the "Mcgyver" DVD's I've been putting off getting...
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Nov 17, 2007
I do feel for the writers but I don't think, if I were in their position, I could sacrifice the future of something I had worked so hard on just for money. Guess it's the whole artist mindset.
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Nov 17, 2007
Why don't they complete thsi tv season and then strike. This doesn't make any sense because if your series was on the bubble to get ax, this only holds it off.



How many midseason or pilots will be lost because of this?



And how soon will studios go after fans/nonunion folk to submit scripts? start hiring non union actors?



I just kow I would hate to be a writer for a show that got axed in favor of some nonunion show that had better ratings.
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Nov 17, 2007
Who says that the price of DVDs will go up? If they do, then that shows you how greedy AMPTP is! (not to be confused with the producers who work on movies and tv shows)
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Nov 16, 2007
It is a sad day of affairs when the old adage of “too much T.V. rots your brain,” is proven accurate. For those people who are anti-union or worse don’t care, I would recommend reading books, journals, and accounts of the working the conditions of the working class before unions came on board. After all, with all the reality TV and game shows, I am sure you have spare time. In the past, the moguls had to be forced to treat their employees fair. At the time and apparently still, they believed that all “workers” should have been grateful for the minuscule wage and thankful for having a job. Many of our labor laws today were made as a result of someone picketing and lobbying for better wages, better working conditions, and the like. Just like before, Big Business has to be forced to be reasonable, and workers have to ban together for fair treatment.. Wouldn’t it be funny if the production companies lost more money with the strike than consenting to the reasonable requests of the WGA?



I am disappointed that my favorite shows are ending much sooner than expected, I am not looking forward in the increased price for DVD’s and such when the AMPTP gives in, but really should we forgo support for the workers because we are inconvenienced. Come on people, just because we like to watch T.V. doesn’t mean we are self-involved. Does it?
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Nov 16, 2007
what I find truly asinine here is the number of people who are choosing a side, not based on the issues the writers are striking over (residuals from DVD and internet distribution) but are against the strike because "it's ruining our TV season."

Grow up! How petty and like a 5 year old child who wants what he wants and anyone who keeps it from him is wrong, no matter what. Oh boo hoo, there won't be any more episodes of Bionic Woman. The writers suck! Whaaaah. People like that don't deserve an opinion here.

Residuals are standard practice in entertainment. the writers aren't asking for higher upfront salaries and have even less chance of getting them if they did. Unlike other jobs where the rate of return on a product is fairly standard, movies and shows make money in perpetuity at a rate commensurate with the quality and popularity. Write a popular show - it makes more money. But no one can know that before hand, so residuals are a way to pay writers based on the success of the show. Without them, writers have no incentive to create anything lasting. "hey I already got paid, I don't have to make this good."

No one denies that authors and musicians shouldn't get paid based on how many copies of their books and CDs get sold. Why shouldn't TV writers get paid based on how many DVDs are sold and shows are downloaded? Higher upfront pay and no residuals is actually bad for both sides as it means the producers would be taking an even bigger financial risk at the beginning without any guarantee of getting a return on that investment. Residuals mean the writer gets money when the producer gets money. But the producers just don't want to share internet revenue.

The issues are not as "complex" as the studios what you to believe. They want to continue to report one set of figures to shareholders showing they made a profit, and another set to creators who are supposed to get a piece showing they are losing money even on big successes. This strike is going to force the studios to reveal their accounting practices and show how badly they have been screwing everyone else for years.

As for people who are simply "anti strike" in general, pull your head out. I'm a pro-capitalist libertarian and even I recognize the strike as the strongest weapon workers have against management. It's not like this happens all the time. It's a last resort from workers who know they are getting treated poorly by management and need things to change.
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Nov 16, 2007
This poll is far too black and white - and the majority of people who blindly support the WGA because "writers deserve more money" are just incredibly naive.



The studios are the epitome of poor business practices on almost all fronts, so of course you won't find many who actively support their position. (Particularly since their stated position is somewhat retarded.) However when you look at the statements from individual producers, you can get a slightly better picture of the situation.



The other side of the equation, the WGA, is proving themselves just as bad as the studios. This is where people don't seem to really understand the issue... Increased residuals will equal pennies to the massive majority of writers, and only show solid returns to writers who are ALREADY RICH. Ie: The WGA Elite. This is the fallacy of many unions whose members cover a broad financial spectrum just as in any aspect of life, they are little more than the entities they supposedly exist to protect workers against.



As for the issue itself, all rhetoric from both parties aside - Yes, writers should be paid more, as should virtually everyone who works on the project. However it is completely retarded(and a symptom of the WGA elite only caring about the elite) that they are asking for it in form of increased residuals, when the rank and file members will see no benefit from it at all. They need to be asking for higher up front salaries straight up, something that would then apply as well to below the line workers who are losing their jobs en masse with no strike fund to support them for no end gain.



The Studios are dicks. The WGA are just as big of dicks, and actively costing people their jobs *OVER THE WRONG ISSUE*. An issue that benefits at best the top 5% earners in the WGA!



And for the guy who said the producers shouldn't make the most money... um. Excuse me? Do you not understand how investments work or something? If you fund the production of a project, you damn well should be making the most money if it is successful because you are the only one taking risks. Everyone else got paid already! Typical lack of education regarding the role people play.
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Nov 16, 2007
The writer's deserve their money, and they'll get it once the industry starts losing 100 million a month because they're out of material.
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Nov 16, 2007
The writers should get what they deserve
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Nov 16, 2007
It doesn't surprise me that so many folks on this site are pro-studio. After all you get your anti-union bias started or reinforced by the media, run by moguls who live in a different world than the rest of us. From Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2004/04/01/cz_ph_0401opiniondisney.html Between 1998 and 2000, Michael Eisner, chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., famously made more than $680 million from the exercise of stock options. Almost $570 million came in 1998 alone. Poor studios, poor Eisner. Wish I was that poor.
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Nov 16, 2007
Don't generate revenue from online programming MY ASS! Not only are there ads during the show (on NBC.com you have to watch about 4 per half hour show) but you have to watch an ad for every 2 deleted scenes or extra clip that you view.
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Nov 15, 2007
Oh, and P.S.:

"Barbara Brogliatti, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, said the findings weren't surprising. "You'd expect nothing less when the only real information the public is getting is from sound bites and the issues are as complex as these," she said."
Uh, studios... I think we're willing to hear your side, but, yeah, we can't seem to find it anywhere.
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Nov 15, 2007
I support it, though I'm not normally pro-union. However, I'm somewhat surprised the total is that high.
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Nov 15, 2007
This strike is ridiculous. The writes get paid to write a show ok well if you strike and ruin the show you have no job...EASY FIX. Some people are working meaningless jobs to support a family and these people are doing something they love. GET OVER IT... You will ruin shows that just premiered and some people will look for new shows when the others are on hiatus or showing repeats.
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Nov 15, 2007
this strike is crazy the writers already get paid enough and they`re ruing tv
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Nov 15, 2007
I'm with the writers on this.
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Nov 15, 2007
Looking over these comments, I believe that it's about 60% pro-strike, 40% against. What I don't believe is how anyone can be against the Writers union unless you're just anti-union and don't care enough to familiarize yourself with the dispute. But I find it hilarious that anyone talks about the writers' greed but somehow think the moguls are somehow exempt from this criticism.
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Nov 15, 2007
well people you have to remember that writing is a business and the writers have families. I hear they can work up to 80 to 100 hours a week.
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Nov 15, 2007
I dont blame them. Sure they highly upset me with striking because now majority of my shows are getting early finales and what not, but they are doing the right thing. They deserve a cut of the money being made. They create these wonderful shows and all the extra money these companies are making off the reruns and boxsets should be shared.
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Nov 15, 2007
I am dead set against striking, period. And am dead set against the money grubbing unions as well.
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Nov 15, 2007
I think it's kinda funny that people talk about how they are "suffering". Really? Your tv show goes on hiatus and you "suffer"? I think you need to get a life outside of tv then.

I think it's ridiculous they are calling full online episodes "promotions".
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Nov 15, 2007
How much money did Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business Management get from the WGA?
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Nov 15, 2007
Where did Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business Management get the people they polled, that's what I'l like to know.
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Nov 15, 2007
Some money should be paid to writers, it's true... What I don't like is them striking just for this reason and making lots of shows end their seasons unexpectedly. Maybe they should keep working and negotiate with the studio executives while they do so.
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Nov 15, 2007
people should be listening to us Foggygirl. Without the writers there is no show, well nothing except reality and gameshows.
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Nov 15, 2007
I'm with the writer's without them there would be no shows. Hopefully this strike will end soon and the shows can get back on track.
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Nov 15, 2007
Pepperdine poll? LOL. Who takes that seriously. While the networks can afford to pay more and execs make way too much money. I dont support the strike because its being done in a way that shuts down the entire industry hurting hundreds of thousands of people in businesses that support the TV industry. People making $10/hour are losing jobs and being badly hurt. If they did it the way the auto workers unions do it (negotiating with/striking with one network at a time so to as not affect as many people), then I might feel less strongly about it. Its another reason why I dont like unions - they engage in extortionist tactics not caring who else gets hurt in the process. The networks are just losing profits while support people are going to lose jobs. As for polls I want to see something reputable from Gallup or one of the other national polling companies, not some university. Universities these days are becoming increasingly liberal and wouldnt be suprised if the poll was done to produce a pro union result. There is not information even on the wording of the questions.
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Nov 15, 2007
boo all unions
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Nov 15, 2007
if the online programs are promotional - take away the ads. im with the unions.

i just wish i was a neilson home so i could really show my support.
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Nov 15, 2007
Yay for unions! This strike hurts everybody.It really needs to end. But it's going to take a while for the studios to really get it.
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Nov 15, 2007
I think that they should have foreseen things like this in their perspective contracts, and now GREED is taking over. It's quite a shame that it has come to this.
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Nov 15, 2007
It really bothers me that every television show is suffering out of this, which makes the viewer suffer too, but if the writers have this right, all they got to do is fight for it. I would do the same. When the studios start to lose a few hundred million dollars, i'm sure a settlement will be quickly reached.
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Nov 15, 2007
Im with the writers. If it wasnt for them there would be no show. Well Reality, can you imagine that. Just pay the writers.
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Nov 15, 2007
Go Unions!
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Nov 15, 2007
I'm for the studios.
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Nov 15, 2007
I am for the stike they write the show with out them we dont have tv so give them the money
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Nov 15, 2007
go unions
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