Directors Guild Reaches Deal With Producers

LOS ANGELES In a development sure to have an impact on the nearly three-month-old writers’ strike, the Directors Guild of America has reached a tentative agreement with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The three-year deal offers DGA members key new-media provisions, including residual rates for ad-supported internet media streaming and online use of clips, and a new residuals formula for paid downloads.

“Of the 307 labor agreements the AMPTP has negotiated since 1982, this new DGA-AMPTP pact surely dealt with some of the most challenging issues we’ve ever faced,” said AMPTP president Nick Counter in a statement. “The formal negotiations that led to this agreement were preceded by weeks of tough and candid informal discussions. In the end, though, both parties were determined to focus on the core issues that are most important to all of us, and the result is an agreement that breaks important new ground for our entire industry.”

In a joint statement also released today, some of Hollywood’s top film and TV executives said the following: “We hope that this agreement with the DGA will signal the beginning of the end of this extremely difficult period for our industry. Today, we invite the Writers Guild of America to engage with us in a series of informal discussions similar to the productive process that led us to a deal with the DGA to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for returning to formal bargaining. We look forward to these discussions and to the day when our entire industry gets back to work.”

The participating execs included Fox chairman and CEO Peter Chernin; CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves; NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker; and Walt Disney president and CEO Bob Iger.

The deal’s announcement came after less than a week of formal negotiations between the DGA and the AMPTP. Having reached agreement on new media topics similar to those the WGA had initially put forth, the tentative deal could help force the writers’ hands in returning to the bargaining table. At the very least, it puts the union’s strike strategy in peril, especially if rank and file members demand a return to talks—with or without the guild’s current leaders in the strike.