Apple has signed the current Writers Guild of America master contract, agreeing to terms above the minimum for programming offered free online. This is significant because it could have implications for the next round of WGA talks ahead of the expiration of the current contract in May 2020, Variety reports.
In a message to WGA West members, President David A. Goodman and executive director David Young wrote:
These deal terms are significant. First, the current MBA does not contain minimums or residuals for projects on free-to-consumer services (think Crackle). Terms have to be negotiated on a writer by writer basis. Except, now, at Apple.
Second, while almost all Guild-covered Internet programming has thus far been under a subscription (consumer pay) model — like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu — Facebook has already launched shows on their free-to-consumer service. As this market develops, it will be imperative to negotiate MBA protections for writers creating content for such services. Our Apple deal moves us in that direction while the 2020 negotiations are still two years away.
In other words, the better deal (for writers, at least) that Apple agreed to with the WGA could act as a starting point for contract negotiations, rather than the lower standards in the current contract.
Apple has been active in developing shows and movies for its own platforms in recent years, including signing actress Lizzy Caplan for its new series "Are You Sleeping?" and landing the TV adaptation rights to Gregory David Roberts' 2003 novel "Shantaram."