The WGA isn’t alone in suggesting that the AMPTP model might be the great fatberg responsible for clogging up Hollywood’s pipeline. Earlier this week I myself made the case that it’s time for a Hollywood break-up, and I’m far from the first person to do so.
Barry Diller, former Paramount Pictures chairman and founder of the Fox Broadcasting Corporation, discussed the shutdown on the podcast “On with Kara Swisher” in late August. He pointed the finger at Netflix as the “architects of [the] strike” and offered his own take on what legacy studios should do next:
“One fundamental thing is they should certainly get out of the room with their deepest, fiercest, and almost conclusive enemy, Netflix, and probably with Apple and Amazon. Because Netflix is in one business and they are the rulers of the business they’re in. The other two, Apple and Amazon Prime, are in completely different businesses. And Amazon Prime is in completely different businesses that have no business model relative to production of movies and television. It’s just something they do to support their Prime or something.”
It’s true that the strikes appear, superficially at least, to have been a boon for Netflix. The company’s stock price has risen from $317.55 on the day the WGA strike began to $442.80 at close of trading on Friday this week. Amazon and Apple stocks have also risen and have likely not been impacted by the strikes at all, since for both companies their annual spend on original content is basically a rounding error compared to their total operating expenses.
Meanwhile, over those same four months, share prices for legacy studios Disney and Paramount have dropped precipitously. If the AMPTP doesn’t return to the negotiating table soon, then someone else might.