Writers Check Out DGA Pact Fine Print

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The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers came to an agreement last week, six days after talks began. Now the entertainment industry will see if the DGA deal gets the Writers Guild of America and the AMPTP back to the table. The WGA has been on strike since Nov. 5, and the sides have not met since early December.

The AMPTP now offers talks with the WGA, and industry insiders hoped that a DGA-AMPTP pact would get the writers and conglomerates back to the table. "We will obviously look at the deal very closely," WGA West President Patric Verrone said in an interview on Jan. 16, one day before the DGA deal was announced.

The terms of the three-year deal include increases in wages and residual bases for each year of the deal, DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for Web distribution, a new residual formula for electronic sell-through that doubles the current rate, and a new residual rate for ad-supported streaming on the Web. It gives producers a short promotional window to stream video without paying.

DGA negotiating chief Gil Cates, representing the union's 13,500 members, called the deal "groundbreaking and substantial," and added that "the gains in this contract for directors and their teams are extraordinary—and there are no rollbacks of any kind."