지난 5월 2일 시작된 미국 작가 조합(WGA)의 파업이 잠정 끝났다. 작가조합은 스튜디오 등 사용자 단체 AMPTP와 제작 재개와 관련한 합의를 끝내고 조합원 투표를 앞두고 있다. 이에 따라 146일간 이어진 할리우드 제작 중단 사태는 끝날 것으로 보인다.
작가 조합은 AMPTP에게 많은 것을 얻어냈다. 스트리밍 서비스에서 배분받는 보상금(레지듀얼)도 늘었고 특히, AI의 유사성에 이용권도 확보한 것으로 알려졌다. 생성AI를 활용할 때 작가들의 동의를 꼭 받아야 하는 조항이다 현재와 미래를 모두 챙긴 것이다. 그러나 세부 사항은 아직 알려지지 않았다.
작가 파업 종료와 한국 콘텐츠의 미국 소비는 어떤 관계가 있을까? 작가 파업 때 일부 한국 스트리밍 서비스들은 미국 내 점유율 확대를 꿈꿨지만 생각만큼 좋은 결과를 얻지는 못했다. 한국 콘텐츠의 미국 내 소비는 계속 늘었지만 파업 때문은 아니었다. 오히려 한국 K콘텐츠의 매력도 증가가 수요를 이끌었다.
그러나 파업이 종료된 이상, 넷플릭스 등 미국 스트리밍 서비스의 한국 콘텐츠 투자는 영향을 받을 수 있다. 한국 드라마, 영화 등이 여전히 저렴하지만, 현재 제작이 밀려있는 할리우드 콘텐츠가 워낙 많다. '애보트 초등학교' 미국에서 인기가 많은 TV시리즈 물이 중단됐던 만큼, 이 분야에 많은 돈이 흘러갈 것으로 보인다.
결국 파업 종료는 한국 콘텐츠의 글로벌 진출에는 상당한 영향을 미칠 것으로 예상된다.
The strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which lasted for 146 days over streaming and AI, has come to an end. The writers union and major studios agreed to end the strike on September 24, 2023 (US time) and signed a tentative agreement for a new contract for three years.
This writers’ strike was very fierce. It was one of the longest labor disputes since the double strike in 1960. The negotiating representatives of the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) finalized the final draft of the contract and completed the long-term negotiations that lasted for five days on Sunday, September 24.
The key point was who had control over the process of generating content using AI. The WGA negotiating committee sent an email to its members at 7:10 p.m. (PST) saying, “This negotiation, which guarantees meaningful benefits and rights for writers in all sectors, is very exceptional and meaningful.” the writers also succeeded in increasing the share of profits generated through streaming services(Residuals)
The negotiations are subject to final approval and verification of the contract. However, the writers’ picket protests stopped from Sunday evening on September 24. The union executives plan to vote on whether to accept it on Tuesday, September 26.
The union has not yet ordered the writers to return to work. If approved by both regional unions, the ratification will be delivered to 11,000 WGA members.
Strike vs k content consumption
The end of the writers’ strike could also affect the spread of Korean content. If Hollywood studios resume content production in earnest, consumption of Korean dramas and movies in the US could also decrease. Some argue that even during the Unions strike, K content consumption did not increase sharply, so Korean dramas and American dramas may be different markets.
But production is another matter. Hollywood studios, which have become more dependent on international content during the dual strikes(writers and actors), may reduce their local production.
Korean content is very economical for Netflix
Korean content is very economical. In other words, the performance for the price is very good. For Hollywood studios, Korean content is still efficient. Netflix spent a reported $500 million on total Korean production in 2021 as Squid Game, which reportedly cost less than $22 million to produce, went on to become one of its most popular originals ever over the year’s final quarter.
Netflix has since expanded its content commitments in Korea to $2.5 billion amid a growing general emphasis on international production. Even as programming budgets began to stabilize industry-wide following Wall Street’s 180 degree pivot on the streaming business model, international production remained a key pillar for many of the major players — especially during the ongoing Hollywood strikes. According to Parrot analystics Overall, global demand for non-English content has increased by more than 16% since 2018 through the first half of 2023.
However, the problem is that a lot of content was not produced due to the strike.
Without popular scripted shows including ABC ‘Abbott Elementary’ and CBS’ ‘Young Sheldon’ networks filled their fall TV schedules with reruns, sports and unscripted programming. Fox aired a game show called “Snake Oil”; CBS reprised Yellowstone episodes; and ABC began simulcasting ESPN’s broadcasts of “Monday Night Football.”
Meanwhile, Netflix have released a trailer for their upcoming reality show based on ‘Squid Game’. The streaming service also confirmed the show is set to drop on Nov. 22. Previously, the company revealed the game show was going to premiere in November at its Tudum fan event earlier this summer.
In the end, the end of the strike is expected to have a significant impact on Korean contents' global consumption.