Netflix to pay $42 million in writers’ compensation dispute

Netflix will have to shell out a hefty sum in a battle over writers’ salaries. As Deadline reports, the Writers Guild of America has won an arbitration award that will force Netflix to pay 216 theatrical movie writers an additional $42 million in unpaid residuals. The WGA is also seeking an additional $13.5 million in late payment interest.

The WGA has accused Netflix of “treating its own account” which helped it skimp on writers’ pay. Residuals from theatrical releases are supposed to be paid out of revenue earned in a given market, according to the guild, and licenses like Netflix’s (where it’s both producer and distributor) require relationship-based fees. more conventional – a Sony movie licensed from Netflix, for example. Netflix, however, reportedly brokered deals with the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) that allowed it to pay residuals on its own films for “significantly less” than the cost of the film.

The win was helped by an earlier win over Sandra Bullock’s film bird box, claimed the WGA. An arbitrator found that Netflix significantly underpaid a screenwriter using a formula like the one in the last dispute. The officiant told Netflix to pay the writer $1.2 million in residuals and interest.

We asked Netflix for comment. However, the WGA has not been shy about voicing its criticisms. He characterized Netflix as one of the “worst violators” of basic guild agreements for residuals, and saw the arbitration as a pushback against media companies trying to “cut” payment through streaming services. . Don’t be surprised if there are more battles like this in the industry.

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