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May 5, 2017

May 5th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

Hollywood - and screen-based stakeholders the world over - breathed a giant sigh of relief this week when it was reported in the wee hours of Tuesday morning that the Writers Guild of America had averted a potential strike by reaching a deal with the Hollywood Studios. As detailed in the Los Angeles Times below, the WGA apparently secured increases in contributions to the guild’s employer-funded health plan, as well as substantial increases in minimum pay and residuals.
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-wga-deal-reactions-20170502-story.html

The Times also followed up with LA-based small businesses which are now shelving austerity plans. But, as detailed below, though stakeholders are cautiously optimistic, SAG-AFTRA negotiations for a new master contract begin later this month, creating the prospect of further labor unrest.
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-wga-deal-small-business-reaction-20170419-story.html

Oculus Story Studio, the award-winning studio behind virtual reality (VR) short films like “Dear Angelica” and “Henry,” is being shut down, Facebook announced yesterday. As detailed in Variety below, the VP of Content at the studio said it had decided to shift its focus away from internal content creation to support more external production.
http://variety.com/2017/digital/news/oculus-story-studio-shutting-down-1202409809/

YouTube has also announced plans to support more original content. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the Internet studio has lined up big-name talent, including Kevin Hart and Ellen Degeneres, for a slate of seven original series which will stream with ads instead of on its subscription-based service, Red.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/youtube-plans-slate-ad-supported-originals-kevin-hart-ellen-degeneres-1000387

The number of Hollywood releases shot with Imax cameras continues to increase, according to the LA Times. As reported below, the Canadian company is recruiting Hollywood’s biggest names — including Michael Bay, J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson — to use its digital and film cameras, saying Imax cameras boast higher image quality, crispness and color, and take advantage of Imax auditoriums by filling the screens to the edge.
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-imax-christopher-nolan-20170424-story.html

Finally this week, the accelerating cord-cutting trend is being blamed for poor showings for media stocks this week. As detailed in Variety below, cable and satellite television providers lost more than 760,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2017, the worst showing in history.
http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/media-stocks-time-warner-disney-1202408467/

Warmest regards,
Kelly

Kelly Graham-Scherer
Los Angeles Representative
Toronto/ Ontario Film Office

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