It’s not business as usual in Hollywood right now, as the writers’ strike enters its second week of negotiations with no clear resolution in sight.
The strike by the Writers’ Guild of America against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers began May 2 – the first in 16 years since a previous strike waged in 2007 over compensation and working conditions. This year’s strike represents the largest disruption to production in Hollywood since the pandemic.
The WGA consists of more than 11,000 writers in the TV and film industry, with the current strike focused heavily on disputes over streaming services, among other complaints. While media companies have invested billions in streaming in recent years, writers claim compensation has not followed.
Most impacted by the strike is the weekly TV industry, since movie production is generally booked a year or more out. But what does the stranglehold on upcoming TV episodes do to advertisers who’ve already reserved time slots?
Marketing agencies say they’re watching proceedings closely, but find it difficult to predict the impact. A representative from Universal Media said the summer season is heavy reliant on reality TV “so there will be less of an impact there” on advertisers. She added they’re “working with media partners to understand contingency plans.”
Other genres like late night television have been shut down entirely by the strike. Programming including The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Real Time with Bill Maher, Saturday Night Live, and others have halted production altogether since the strike began.
Advertisers who had spots slated with late night shows are working with agency execs to determine where their dollars can be reallocated, with digital content a likely destination.
MediaHub Chief Investment Officer, Carrie Drinkwater, noted that contingency clauses in ad deals became more common during the pandemic, which has made it easier for advertisers to pivot those dollars into other outlets now.
At press time there are no reports of either side nearing an agreement. But according to Kelsey Chickering, Principal Analyst at Forrester, advertisers need not fear. “Either they will continue spending with the networks at a potentially lower negotiated cost, or they will move their dollars to other ‘entertainment’ media.”
But what happens if consumers grow weary of watching reruns? Continue reading here.