Disney, Unions Deal on Mobisodes - Broadcasting & Cable

Disney, Unions Deal on Mobisodes

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Disney-ABC Television Group’s Touchstone Television has reached deals with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) over Guild representation of production of mobisodes for Lost.

According to the Guilds, the deal was reached after its members who work on Lost insisted that proposed mobisodes be guild-covered. Disney says the planned series of mini-episodes designed for mobile phones will be called "Lost Video Diaries."

According to a WGA press release, the deal includes the provisions of minimums, residuals, pension and health benefits, and writing credit provisions for Lost mobisodes.

The WGA says the deal calls for use on cell phones after 13 weeks to trigger a residual like the pay TV model of 1.2% of the license fee for such use.

The figure remains the same if the mobisode is downloaded via the Internet, and rises to 2% if the Internet download is ad-supported.

SAG says its deal provides for an escalating minimum wage beginning at $425 for an eight-hour day retroactive to April 1, and increases to $450 on April 1, 2007.

Residuals are also triggered after 13 weeks, and an actor will get a $75 advance against a residual of 3.6% of the license fee. That figure also stays the same for Internet downloads, and jumps to 6% if ad-supported.

"By coming to an agreement, the quality and integrity of the stories we tell in this new medium will be consistent with that of the network show," says Carlton Cuse, a writer and executive producer on Lost, in the WGA’s press release.

Both Touchstone and the Guilds say they hope this agreement sets a framework for future negotiations within the new digital frontier.

"We look forward to finding additional ways in which we can work together to experiment on a Guild-represented basis in this new digital media arena," says Mark Pedowitz, president, Touchstone Television in Disney’s press release.

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