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Former studio exec Barry Diller warns of ‘devastating’ industry-wide effects if strikes aren’t settled by fall

Former Paramount and Fox boss says the entertainment industry is on the verge of collapse.

Former movie mogul Barry Diller is concerned about the potential havoc the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike might wreck on the entertainment industry unless studios take action to find a prompt resolution.

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Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, Diller – the current Chairman of IAC and Expedia Group – issued a dire warning about the industry-wide effects resulting from a confluence of factors including the studios’ financial losses, declining ticket sales, and the lasting impact of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, writers are expressing concerns regarding the potential ramifications of AI on their profession, with the combination of challenges creating a complex situation.

“What will happen is, if in fact, it doesn’t get settled until Christmas or so, then, next year, there’s not going to be many programs for anybody to watch. So, you’re going to see subscriptions get pulled, which is going to reduce the revenue of all these movie companies, television companies, the result of which is that there will be no programs. And at just the time, strike is settled, that you want to get back up, there won’t be enough money. So this actually will have devastating effects, if it is not settled soon.”

He seems confident that studios will eventually reach an agreement with the WGA. However, he stresses that the timing of this deal is crucial. One of the main points of contention is AI and its potential impact on actors and writers, with Diller firmly believing that fears of AI replacing creative professionals are misplaced.

The former head of Paramount and Fox proposed a straightforward solution: a 25 percent pay cut for both top executives and highly-paid actors as a good-faith measure to narrow the salary gap. He firmly believes it’s essential to find a resolution by September 1st, and he didn’t mince his words:

“These conditions will potentially produce an absolute collapse of an entire industry.”

Regarding AI and copyright, Diller explained that he and a group of leading publishers are taking legal action to protect copyrighted material from being used without proper compensation by AI platforms, and the lawsuit aims to establish a transparent business model that protects creators.

Diller is a seasoned player in entertainment, and his insights underscore the gravity of the situation. Right now, the future hangs in the balance, and immediate action is needed to resolve the crisis.

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Manya Seisay
Manya is a Contributing Writer for We Got This Covered, who explores diverse topics, including entertainment, gaming, and new technologies.