Striking writers take antitrust aim at Disney, Amazon, Netflix

The striking Writers Guild of America on Thursday urged federal regulators to increase their oversight of the streaming media business, saying Disney, Amazon and Netflix had too much power

August 18, 2023 09:47 am | Updated 04:45 pm IST - LOS ANGELES

Representatives for Disney, Amazon and Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comment [File]

Representatives for Disney, Amazon and Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comment [File] | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The striking Writers Guild of America (WGA) on Thursday urged federal regulators to increase their oversight of the streaming media business, saying Walt Disney, Amazon.com and Netflix had amassed too much power.

The guild, which has been on strike since May 2, issued a report arguing that the three companies were poised to become "the new gatekeepers of media" and have abused their positions "to further disadvantage competitors, raise prices for consumers, and push down wages for the creative workforce."

The union urged regulators to block any further consolidation in the industry, "proactively investigate anti-competitive issues and outcomes" and increase regulation and oversight of the streaming business.

Representatives for Disney, Amazon and Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(For top technology news of the day, subscribe to our tech newsletter Today’s Cache)

A spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission referred to recent comments in a podcast by Chair Lina Khan.

"The combination of this consolidation and vertical integration seems to have created a market structure where we hear about how writers and producers and showrunners are all making less, even as companies are charging customers more. And critics seem to say that the quality of content being produced is actually in decline," Khan told The Ankler podcast.

"So increasingly we see some of the red flags that suggest the market structure is not actually serving the creators or the ultimate viewers," Khan added.

The roughly 11,500 members of the WGA have called for higher compensation, staffing guarantees and protections around the use of artificial intelligence (AI), among other demands, in talks with Hollywood studios. The SAG-AFTRA actors union, which went on strike July 14, also is seeking an increase in base pay and residuals.

WGA and studio negotiators recently returned to the bargaining table but have yet to reach a deal.

The WGA letter did not single out other companies, including Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Warner Bros Discovery, which also offer streaming media options.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.