Writers Guild Demands Government Intervention of Disney

in Disney, Entertainment

Writers picketing in front of Walt Disney Company studio Writers Strike, WGA Strike

Credit: ufcw770 via Wikimedia Commons

In a newly published report, the Writers Guild of America West (WGA West) has demanded that the government regulate Disney and other media companies for “anti-competitive practices.”

Writers picketing in front of the entrance of Walt Disney CompanyWriters Strike, WGA Strike
Credit: ufcw770 via Wikimedia Commons

The Writers Strike and Actors Strike have shaken the entertainment industry to its core. This has halted production on many movies and television shows. Multiple projects have been delayed since no actors or writers will work on them until the AMPTP agrees to their terms, and many other unions are standing by them.

What’s wild is that none of these terms are that difficult to meet. Most of the Writers Guild of America’s demands are a small wage increase, increased staffing for writers’ rooms, and more regulation regarding artificial intelligence. More than anything, they’re trying to ensure they can continue creating the media we all love and still earn a decent wage.

Now in its 108th day of striking, WGA West has released a report calling for the government to intervene in media conglomerates, specifically honing in on Amazon, Netflix, and Disney.

Writers Guild Blasts Disney for “Anti-Competitive Practices”

Writer's Guild of America Striking outside the Walt Disney Studio with Ebenezer Scrooge
Credit: Inside The Magic

WGA West has released a report demanding government regulation against Disney, Netflix, and Amazon for “anti-competitive practices,” explicitly calling them out for “abusing their dominance to further disadvantage competitors, raise prices for consumers, and push down wages for the creative workforce.”

Called “The New Gatekeepers: How Disney, Amazon, and Netflix Will Take Over Media,” the report specifically calls out the Walt Disney Company as the “Gatekeeper of Content Production,” declaring that they use their presence as the most powerful legacy media conglomerate to “reduce film output, shut down competing studios, foreclose independent content from its distribution networks, expand control of the labor market, and force creators to give up financial participation in future licensing revenue.”

The report also goes after Amazon and Netflix, saying they both use their massive media footprints to leverage employers to underpay writers, prevent competition, and deter content innovation.

Disney & 20th Century Fox logo
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney’s Bob Iger Says Striking Writers and Actors Are “Disruptive” and “Unrealistic”

WGA West further warns, “Without intervention, these conglomerates will seize control of the media landscape, and the streaming era’s advances for creativity and choice will be lost. These new gatekeepers have amassed market power through mergers and other anti-competitive practices, offering an alarming window into the future of media.”

This isn’t the first time WGA West has given testimony regarding antitrust issues. In 2021, they published a similar report attacking five media mergers: AT&T-Time Warner, AT&T-DirecTV, Charter-Time Warner Cable-Bright House Networks, Comcast-NBCUniversal, and Disney-Fox.

What Can the Government Do?

Mickey crossed out in front of the White House, representing this week's disney WGA strike
Credit: Inside The Magic

Related: Studios Have No Intention of Negotiating With WGA Strike, Hoping for a Defeated Union

While it may seem daunting for the government to jump in when streaming still appears to be under the control of only a few companies, WGA West has some suggestions on how to intervene. “It is crucial that antitrust agencies and lawmakers take the following actions to protect the future of media: block further consolidation, proactively investigate anti-competitive issues and outcomes, and increase regulation and oversight in streaming..”

Whether or not you agree with the strikes in Hollywood, you cannot deny that Disney basically owns a monopoly in the film industry, with most of the largest media franchises in the world under their umbrella, including Star Wars, Marvel, Fox, and many more. With so much control and such little competition, it really does look like it’s time for the government to do something.

Do you think Disney and other media companies have become too powerful? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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