STRIKE UPDATE: DVDs Back on Front Burner as Sides Still Battling

Writers Guild of America, Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers Exchange Statements

The television industry is now officially on

strike watch

as the Thursday 12:01 a.m. deadline looks to have come and gone without a deal, and the sides were still firing public barbs at each other over the DVD-formula argument as of Wednesday night.

The Writers Guild of America West has a meeting set for Thursday night in Los Angeles and, after the public statements from both sides Wednesday, many in the industry will be expecting a walkout soon.

While the WGA has yet to make anything official at press time, many industry insiders expect it to walk out as soon as Monday.

The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers put out dueling statements Wednesday night, with the DVD formula battle back on the front burner.

The WGA claimed that the companies “refused to continue to bargain unless we agree that the hated DVD formula be extended to Internet downloads.”

The AMPTP claimed that it told the WGA it has “been working hard to come up with a package in response to your last proposal. But we keep running up against the DVD issue. The companies believe that movement is possible on other issues, but they cannot make any movement when confronted with your continuing efforts to increase the DVD formula, including the formula for electronic sell-through.”

The WGA said in a statement that “After three-and-a-half months of bargaining, the AMPTP still has not responded to a single one of our important proposals. Every issue that matters to writers, including Internet reuse, original writing for new media, DVDs and jurisdiction, has been ignored. This is completely unacceptable.”

The AMPTP said in a statement that the “magnitude of that proposal alone is blocking us from making any further progress. We cannot move further as long as that issue remains on the table. In short, the DVD issue is a complete roadblock to any further progress.”

Finally, the AMPTP claimed that the WGA said it did not want to talk on Thursday because it had a membership meeting. According to the AMPTP, when it asked the WGA about meeting Friday, the WGA “advised they would call us.”

The WGA had not responded to that account of what took place at press time.

For full coverage of the strike, click here.