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.