Disney, Amazon, and Netflix ‘Will Take Over Media,’ Writers’ Guild Warns

Disney, Amazon, and Netflix ‘Will Take Over Media,’ Writers’ Guild Warns

A new report from the WGA calls for “increased regulation in the streaming space.”

Logan Plant

Updated:

Aug 17, 2023 11:05 pm

Posted:

Aug 17, 2023 10:54 pm

A new report from the Writers’ Guild of America West claims that Disney, Amazon, and Netflix are “poised to be the new gatekeepers” of the media landscape.

The report from the striking writers says Disney, Amazon, and Netflix have gained power through “anticompetitive practices and abusing their dominance to further disadvantage competitors, raise prices for consumers, and push down wages for the creative workforce.”

The writers are calling for intervention from antitrust agencies and lawmakers to prevent further consolidation involving the biggest players in the industry. They are also calling for investigations into anticompetitive issues and increased regulation in the streaming space.

“Pay and working conditions for writers have become so dire, and media conglomerates so unresponsive, that 11,500 writers went on strike in May 2023,” the summary reads in part. “Without intervention, these conglomerates will seize control of the media landscape and the streaming era’s advances for creativity and choice will be lost.”

The union calls out Disney’s significant acquisitions in recent years, laying out a timeline beginning with the company’s acquisition of ABC in 1995, all the way to the $71.3 billion deal to purchase 21st Century Fox in 2019. In the middle, Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm.

The report recognizes that Amazon is a newer player in the streaming wars, but still accuses the giant of “predatory pricing, aggressive acquisitions, and establishing, then abusing, its position between competitors and consumers.”

Finally, the report calls Netflix a “gatekeeper in employment”, saying that the streamer has “set a low ceiling on experienced writers’ pay, and has attempted to severely underpay writers for their work during series’ post-production.” The report also points to increased subscription prices across the industry.

Streaming has been at the heart of the WGA’s ongoing strike that began over three months ago. When the WGA announced the strike in May, the union made it clear that streaming has forever changed the film and television industry, and the WGA argues their contracts with studios have not kept pace.

The Screen Actors Guild joined the strike in July, and clearly agrees with the issues presented by streaming, as SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher compared working on streaming content under the current conditions to “moving around furniture on the Titanic”.

Earlier this month, the writers and Hollywood studios met for the first time since the strike began, but no agreement was reached. For more, check out the TV shows and movies that have been impacted by the writers’ strike.

Thumbnail credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over seven years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.

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