Strike: lights out at the dream factory

First the screenwriters went on strike, and now actors in Hollywood have followed suit. They demand higher wages to offset inflation, fair compensation from streaming services like Netflix and protection from the effects of the use of artificial intelligence. Commentators examine their concerns.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Concern about the full potential of digitalisation

This is an industrial dispute brought about by the dawn of a new era, comments Der Standard:

“A trade union that stands for the entire diversity of the acting industry, from the superstar to the person acting as the third thug standing next to a column at the back left of the picture and the stuntman shot out of a canon is pitted against the producers' association AMPTP, which is waking up to the full potential of digital technologies. ... The cultural industry has become used to constant expansion. First reading came under pressure from television, then cinema was pushed to the sidelines by the internet and now they're all under pressure from Tiktok. Many things indicate that only now are we gradually finding out what changes are really possible with digitalisation.”

Efimerida ton Syntakton (GR) /

Decent working conditions for all

The strikers are in the right, says Efimerida ton Syntakton:

“The American entertainment industry is facing a double, massive strike that will paralyse film and television production. Tens of thousands of actors and writers, many of whom doubtless do not belong to the privileged caste of big, well-paid names, are demanding an increase in base salaries and residuals, i.e. financial compensation in the event of reruns, rebroadcasts, DVD or streaming releases, as well as assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence. ... The strikers in Hollywood are demanding what all workers around the world should be demanding: decent pay for the work they do and more security for the future.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Fair rules are needed

Deutschlandfunk sees the strike as long overdue:

“Actors and screenwriters are still paid for their work according to standards that date back to the 1990s in some cases. Royalties on streaming hits are not regulated. A successful strike would force platforms like Netflix to disclose their streaming quotas. ... The handling of artificial intelligence is also coming into focus. While authors fear that voice modules like ChatGPT will soon be writing entire screenplays, actors are fighting for the right to their own image. ... How to successfully transfer the film business as we know it into a digital reality has not been clarified. There must be rules that are fair and counteract the precarious working conditions of many creatives for everyone involved.”

El País (ES) /

Actors also have to pay the rent

Users need to rethink their attitude to consumption, writes El País:

“Hollywood is on fire. The repercussions are global because its products are global, an inextricable part of our daily lives. ... Thanks to their enormous social influence, actors can connect with consumers who in recent years have become accustomed to receiving quality entertainment instantly on their mobile phones without being aware that behind that joke or breathtaking scene that they will remember for the rest of their lives are people who have to go shopping and pay the rent.”