2023 MBA Contract Changes FAQ
The following FAQ summarizes the negotiated amendments to be included in the 2023 MBA. The language of the Memorandum of Agreement will prevail in the event of any inconsistency. Unless amended in the 2023 negotiations, the provisions of the 2020 MBA remain unchanged.
Minimums & BenefitsScroll to Top
What are the minimum increases?
Most MBA minimums will increase by 5% on September 25, 2023, 4% on 5/2/2024 and 3.5% on 5/2/25. We also negotiated outsized increases to a number of minimums, including made for streaming features at budgets of $30 million or more, development rooms and weekly rates for writer-producers, and added script fees for staff writers, all of which are further detailed below. The new Writer-Producer compensation tier goes into effect for services on new seasons of series written on or after December 10, 2023. Some minimums and rates increase less, mostly by 3% each year, while a few rates increase only once or do not increase over the contract. These exceptions are the result of patterns negotiated with other unions.
What increases were negotiated for our health and pension funds?
The Health Fund contribution on reportable earnings will increase 0.5% in the second year of the agreement, from 11.5% to 12%. The Guild also has the right to divert from minimum increases an additional 0.5% in each of the second and third years of the contract to either the Health Fund or Pension Plan.
What were the benefit improvements for writers on teams?
The Guild negotiated improved benefit contributions for team members both on scripts and weekly compensation.
First, individual writers who are members of teams will now get Pension and Health contributions up to the single writer cap as if they wrote as a sole writer. For example, before this improvement each person on a team of two writing a screenplay would only get contributions up to one-half of the applicable cap: Pension contributions up to $112,500 and Health contributions up to $125,000. Going forward, each of these writers can get Pension contributions up to $225,000 and Health contributions up to $250,000 per project based on the team’s compensation. A team of two earning $400,000 on a screenplay would now have contributions made on $200,000 each to both Pension and Health. If that team is hired for an additional step, each would get additional contributions up to the Pension cap of $225,000 and the Health cap of $250,000.
Second, for teams employed on a weekly-fee basis (which includes writers who have episodic deals), contributions will now be made on the full weekly for each member of the team, even if the team works at minimum. Prior to this improvement, for example, a team of two story editors would each get Pension and Health contributions on only half of the weekly minimum.
These improvements take effect immediately.
What health care extension terms were negotiated in the Strike Termination Agreement?
Health Fund participants who would otherwise lose eligibility immediately following an earnings cycle that included all or a portion of the strike period (i.e., an earnings cycle that ended or will end on June 30, 2023, September 30, 2023, December 31, 2023, March 31, 2024, or June 30, 2024) will receive a benefit extension. Each such writer will receive one additional quarter of coverage and have a three-month extension of their earnings cycle. Each writer who has 10 or more banked points as of October 1, 2023 must use banked points for this extended quarter in accordance with the Extended Coverage Program. This is effective immediately for participants who were set to lose coverage October 1, 2023.
Further, the Health Fund will extend the ability to self-pay for COBRA for three months, without subsidy, for participants who exhausted or will exhaust their COBRA eligibility as of June 30, 2023, September 30, 2023, December 31, 2023, March 31, 2024, or June 30, 2024.
Artificial IntelligenceScroll to Top
What are the protections around AI?
The 2023 MBA establishes regulations for the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) on MBA-covered projects in the following ways:
- Neither traditional AI (technologies including those used in CGI and VFX) nor generative AI (GAI, meaning artificial intelligence that produces content including written material) is a writer, so no written material produced by traditional AI or GAI can be considered literary material.
- If a company gives a writer written material produced by GAI that hasn’t been previously published or exploited, that material doesn’t count as assigned material (for compensation purposes) or source material (for determining credits), and can’t be used to disqualify a writer for separated rights.
- In other words, a company can’t give you an AI-generated screenplay and pay you a rewrite fee to rewrite—you would be treated as the first writer of the screenplay.
- The Company must disclose to the writer if any materials given to the writer have been generated by AI or incorporate AI-generated material.
- A writer can choose to use AI when performing writing services, if the company consents and provided that the writer follows applicable company policies, but the company can’t require the writer to use AI software (e.g., ChatGPT) when performing writing services.
- On the use of MBA-covered material for training purposes, the WGA reserved the right to assert that such use is prohibited by the MBA or by other laws.
This provision takes effect immediately.
Feature ImprovementsScroll to Top
How does the guaranteed second step protection work?
Whenever a writer is hired for a first draft screenplay with or without a treatment, or sells a spec script, for less than 200% of the screenplay minimum, the writer must also be hired for a rewrite. In the first year of the new MBA, this means, for example, a writer hired to write a non-original first draft without treatment on a high budget project for less than $191,902, or an original first draft with treatment for less than $320,168, would be guaranteed a paid rewrite step. The same would apply to writers who sell spec scripts under those same thresholds for high budget features (i.e., projects with budgets $5 million or more). This applies immediately to new deals.
What is the new payment structure for feature writers?
Screenwriters hired for a screenplay (original and non-original), story, treatment, rewrite or polish for 200% or less than minimum must be paid 50% of their fee on commencement. If the writer has not delivered within 9 weeks of commencement, 25% of the fee is payable when an invoice is submitted. The final 25% is due on delivery of the step. For instance, if a writer is hired to write a non-original first draft for $100,000 (less than 200% of the relevant minimum) they would be due $50,000 on commencement, $25,000 after invoicing at 9 weeks, and $25,000 on delivery. This improvement applies immediately to new deals.
What are the new terms for high-budget feature-length HBSVOD projects?
Feature-length (96 minutes+) projects made for streaming services with a budget of $30 million or more will now benefit from higher minimum compensation and improved residuals. The story & teleplay minimum for these projects is $100,000, an 18% increase from the current rates that brings them closer to the theatrical minimums. This increased initial compensation takes effect for contracts entered into on or after November 1, 2023.
HBSVOD Features, 96 minutes+, $30 million budget or higher 2020 MBA Year 3 2023 MBA Year 1 Story $32,455 $38,394 Teleplay $55,441 $65,587 Story & Teleplay $84,523 $100,000
The residual base used to calculate fixed HBSVOD residuals for these projects will increase 26%. As a result, the 3-year residuals for these projects, incorporating the foreign residual improvements described below, will amount to a 49% increase over the current residuals for projects on the largest services. A streaming feature meeting these length and budget requirements made for Disney+, for instance, would be paid $216,000 in residuals over 3 years. This improvement takes effect for literary material written after September 25, 2023. These projects will also be eligible for the new viewership bonus described below.
HBSVOD Residual (Domestic + Foreign) for 3 Years of Reuse (96 minute+ feature over $30 million in budget) Subscriber Tier (Domestic/Foreign) 2020 MBA Year 3 2023 MBA % Increase Netflix/Amazon/Disney+ 45 million+ / 75 million+ $144,993 $216,000 49% Hulu 45 million+ $107,402 $135,000 26% Apple 20-45 million / < 20 million $96,662 $132,300 37% Paramount+/Peacock/Max 20-45 million $71,602 $90,000 26%
Streaming ImprovementsScroll to Top
What are the improvements to the foreign residual for HBSVOD projects?
First, for all made-for-HBSVOD programs, the residual bases will increase by 2.5% in the first year of the new contract, effective for literary material written after the first Sunday following ratification. Feature-length HBSVOD programs at higher budgets get a separate, higher increase, which goes into effect for literary material written after September 25, 2023.
Story & Teleplay Residual Base 2020 MBA Year 3 2023 MBA 30 minute episode $16,316 $16,724 60 minute episode $29,657 $30,398 Feature-length (85 minutes+) up to $13 million in budget $58,407 $59,867 Feature-length (85 minutes+) over $13 million in budget $59,668 $62,6511 Feature-length (96 minutes+) over $30 million in budget $59,668 $75,000
On top of these increases, made-for-HBSVOD programs on services available globally (Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and Apple) have a new foreign residual based on the number of the service’s foreign subscribers. This improvement applies to literary material written after the first Sunday following ratification. Instead of a foreign residual that is 35% of the domestic residual, the new foreign residual will be calculated as:
Applicable Residual Base
Exhibition Year % (i.e., 45% for Year 1)
Foreign Subscriber Factor (see table below)
Foreign Subscriber # Foreign Subscriber Factor Less than 20 million 47% 20-45 million 60% 45-75 million 75% More than 75 million 90%
As a result of these two changes, the residuals for particular services will increase as follows:
HBSVOD Foreign Residual for Year 1 of Reuse (half-hour episode) Subscriber Tier (Domestic/Foreign) 2020 MBA Year 3 2023 MBA % Increase Netflix/Amazon/Disney+ 45 million+ / 75 million+ $3,855 $6,773 76% Apple 20-45 million / < 20 million $2,570 $3,537 38% HBSVOD Foreign Residual for Year 1 of Reuse (one-hour episode) Subscriber Tier (Domestic/Foreign) 2020 MBA Year 3 2023 MBA % Increase Netflix/Amazon/Disney+ 45 million+ / 75 million+ $7,006 $12,311 76% Apple 20-45 million / < 20 million $4,671 $6,429 38%
Over three years, the total (domestic and foreign) HBSVOD residual for these services increases as follows:
HBSVOD Residual (Domestic + Foreign) for 3 Years of Reuse (half-hour episode) Subscriber Tier (Domestic/Foreign) 2020 MBA Year 3 2023 MBA % Increase Netflix/Amazon/Disney+ 45 million+ / 75 million+ $39,648 $48,165 21% Apple 20-45 million / < 20 million $26,432 $29,501 12% HBSVOD Residual (Domestic + Foreign) for 3 Years of Reuse (one-hour episode) Subscriber Tier (Domestic/Foreign) 2020 MBA Year 3 2023 MBA % Increase Netflix/Amazon/Disney+ 45 million+ / 75 million+ $72,067 $87,547 21% Apple 20-45 million / < 20 million $48,044 $53,622 12%
Max and Paramount, which are available outside the US but in a limited number of countries, will continue to get the existing residual of 1.2% of the relevant license fees. This carve-out is a result of patterns established in the industry.
1Subject to further increases in years 2 and 3.
How does the new viewership-based streaming bonus work?
The bonus—equal to 50% of the applicable fixed residual—will be paid for made-for-HBSVOD features and all episodes of seasons of made-for-HBSVOD series that reach a ‘‘performance metric” of 20% or more on the domestic service within the first 90 days of exhibition, or the first 90 days of any subsequent year of exhibition. The performance metric is calculated based on the number of domestic views divided by number of domestic subscribers, and views are calculated as total aggregated domestic hours viewed for all episodes of a season, or for a feature, with hours calculated in increments of 0.1 hour (i.e., 6 minutes) divided by the total runtime of the program. A third-party auditor will be available to resolve any dispute over which programs qualify for the bonus.
The bonus is calculated as 50% of the applicable fixed residual, including both the domestic and foreign payments if the service is available globally. The bonus will go into effect for programs released on or after January 1, 2024, with the amount of the bonus determined by the date the literary material was written. Made-for-HBSVOD projects written under prior MBAs are eligible for the bonus as long as they are first released on or after January 1, 2024.
For projects written under the 2023 MBA on the largest streaming services, the bonus amounts for projects reaching the performance metric in their first 90 days will be as follows, with the amounts declining in subsequent years:
Length Netflix/Disney+/Amazon Bonus Half-Hour Episode $9,031 One-Hour Episode $16,415 Streaming feature (85 minutes+, under $13 million in budget) $32,382 Streaming feature (85 minutes+, over $13 million in budget) $33,8322 Streaming feature (96 minutes+, over $30 million in budget) $40,500
- A Netflix season consisting of eight 60-minute episodes was streamed for 180 million hours in the first 90 days of its release, each episode of that season would get a bonus because 180 million hours translates into 22.5 million views (180 million ÷ 8 hours), which is more than 20% of Netflix’s 75 million domestic subscribers.
- If the season in question was written in late 2022 (i.e., under the 2020 MBA), each episode’s bonus would be $13,512, which is 50% of the total residual (domestic and foreign) for the first exhibition year. If the season were written after ratification, each episode’s bonus would be in the amount of $16,415, incorporating the 2023 improvements to the fixed HBSVOD residual.
2Subject to further increases in years 2 and 3.
How does the new transparency requirement work for streaming data?
The Guild will now have access, subject to a confidentiality agreement, to data on the total number of hours streamed, both domestically and internationally, of self-produced high budget streaming programs (e.g., a Netflix original series produced by Netflix) written under the 2023 MBA as well as prior MBAs. We will begin to receive this information for the quarter beginning January 1, 2024, and will receive the information within 90 days after the close of each quarter.
The Guild is permitted to share information with the membership in summary form that does not identify confidential information, such as specific streaming services or series.
How do the new terms for made-for-AVOD work? What is included in the definition of AVOD?
High-budget dramatic programs made for free-to-the-consumer streaming platforms, including “free ad-supported television” (FAST), will be subject to the same initial compensation terms as the equivalent programs made for subscription streaming services. The same budget tiers as in subscription streaming will apply, with programs eligible for either network primetime or basic cable script fees depending on the budget.
Episode length Budget Tier Script Fee rates (Year 1, Story & Teleplay) 20-35 minutes Tier 1: $2.1 million or more $29,823 Tier 2: $1.03 million to $2.1 million $17,501 36-65 minutes Tier 1: $3.8 million or more $43,862 Tier 2: $1.75 million to $3.8 million $31,812
Protections such as span (using the basic cable span cap of $375,000), and premium rates for pilots and backup scripts will also apply. When these programs are reused on the AVOD service, a residual of 2% of the license fee will be owed to the writer for reuse after the first 26 weeks. These provisions will apply to new seasons of series where the contract for writing services is dated January 7, 2024 or later.
The new development room and writers’ room staffing and duration of employment terms, as described below, do not apply to AVOD series.
Episodic EmploymentScroll to Top
What are the new requirements for development rooms (aka pre-greenlight rooms)?
Several new terms and requirements will apply to rooms of 3 or more writers convened before an episode order of a TV or HBSVOD series: a minimum writing staff, guaranteed weeks of employment, and premium weekly fees. These new terms apply to development rooms for the first season of a series or in-between seasons. The higher weekly rates and duration terms will take effect for contracts starting November 1, 2023; the staffing terms take effect for new seasons where the first episode is written on or after December 1, 2023.
- For a room convened prior to a season order and consisting of 3 or more writers, the minimum staff size is 3 writer-producers (including the showrunner).
- Any writer employed in a development room must be guaranteed at least 10 consecutive weeks of employment.
- For guarantees of employment up to 19 weeks, all writers hired in a development room must be paid premium weekly rates that are 25% above the highest writers’ room rate.
Development Room Premium Rates up to 19 Weeks Title 2023 MBA Year 1 Staff Writer $6,959 Story Editor/Executive Story Editor $12,978 Writer-Producer $14,214
- For guarantees of employment of 20 weeks or more, if the development room is prior to season 1 of a series, the development room is treated as a regular room with 6 or fewer episodes, meaning the minimum staff size is 3 writer-producers. For subsequent-season development rooms in which the writers are guaranteed 20 weeks or more of employment, the development room is treated as a regular room with the number of required writers determined by the anticipated number of episodes.
- Development room weeklies cannot be credited against other compensation earned in connection with the series, such as an episodic fee.
How do the new requirements for staffing a writers’ room work?
Under the 2023 MBA, the Company is required to convene a writers’ room after a season order, unless a single writer is engaged to write all episodes of a season. A season order triggers these staffing requirements.
# of Episodes Minimum # of writers in writers’ room Minimum # of Writer-Producers in writers’ room 1-6 3 3 7-12 5 3 13+ 6 3
- The minimum number of writers must be guaranteed at least 20 weeks or the entire duration of the post-greenlight room, whichever is shorter.
- If there was a development room, the two writer-producers who worked in the development room must be hired for the writers’ room if they are available.
- Weeks worked in the development room can be credited against the guaranteed weeks in the writers’ room.
- If a writer resigns more than two weeks before completing their guarantee, the company must try to replace the writer within two weeks. The replacement will be hired for the number of weeks remaining on the original writer’s guarantee, minus the weeks in between the first writer’s resignation and the replacement’s hiring.
These requirements apply to new seasons where the first episode is written December 1, 2023 or later.
What are the new requirements for writers in production?
For single-camera series made for HBSVOD and Pay TV that are exclusively filmed in the US and Canada, 2 writer-producers must be employed in the production period for the lesser of 20 weeks or the duration of production.
To provide the showrunner flexibility and to create opportunities for more writers to gain production experience, the two minimum positions can be used for more than two writers of any level, provided that the total weeks worked by the additional writers adds up to the minimum required for each position.
For instance, for a show with a 30-week production period, the company can either employ 2 writer-producers for 20 weeks each, or employ 2 writers of any level for 10 weeks each and 4 writers of any level for 5 weeks each.
These requirements apply to new seasons where the first episode is written December 1, 2023 or later.
What is the new writer-producer minimum?
For employment on episodic series, prior MBAs had two sets of weekly rates: one for Staff Writers and a higher rate for all other titles from Story Editor through Executive Producer/Showrunner. For the first time, the 2023 MBA will have a third, higher set of weekly rates for Writer-Producers (co-producer and up), with the minimums at a 9.5% premium over the Story Editor/Executive Story Editor rates. These rates will take effect for new seasons of series written on or after December 10, 2023. In the interim, Writer-Producers will receive the 5% increase along with Story Editor/Executive Story editors on October 15, 2023.
Writer-Producer Weekly Minimums Term of Employment 2023 MBA Year 1 Up to 9 weeks $11,371 10-19 weeks $9,476 20 weeks+ $8,524
What improvements were made to Span protection?
The span provision in Article 14.K.2.—which establishes that a TV writer-producer’s episodic fee cannot be amortized over more than 2.4 weeks per episode on short order series (14 or fewer episodes for streaming and basic cable, 12 or fewer on broadcast)—will now apply to writers earning less than $450,000 (with the threshold for basic cable remaining at $375,000), an increase from the current earnings cap of $400,000.
In addition, span protections will now be extended to writers on limited series earning less than $450,000 (or $375,000 in basic cable). Under previous MBAs, writers on limited series were not entitled to span protection, regardless of income.
These improved protections apply to contracts made December 1, 2023 or later.
What improvements were made to Options & Exclusivity?
For contracts made on or after October 15, 2023, the earnings cap under which the options and exclusivity provisions apply will be increased from $325,000 to $350,000 for non-children’s programming.
Will staff writers now get script fees?
Yes, staff writers will now be paid separately for their script fees, in addition to their weekly pay. This requirement is effective immediately.
Appendix AScroll to Top
What are the new terms for Appendix A series (Comedy-Variety, Quiz & Audience, Daytime Serials, etc.) made for streaming?
For the first time, Comedy-Variety, Quiz & Audience, or Other Non-Dramatic programs with budgets at or above $600,000 for a half-hour or $1.15 million for a one-hour show that are made for subscription streaming services will have weekly initial compensation minimums like television. The budget threshold for these programs produced and initially exhibited four or more times a week is lower; for instance, $150,000 per episode for a half-hour Comedy-Variety program and $250,000 per episode for a one-hour Comedy-Variety program. These new terms will phase in over time:
- For new series where the first episode is written January 7, 2024 or later;
- For series that are currently in their first or second season, once they reach season three;
- For series currently in their third or later season where the first episode of the season is written January 7, 2024 or later.
Once the new provisions are phased in, Comedy-Variety series employment will get the aggregate minimum compensation in addition to weekly minimums. Comedy-Variety series with 13 programs will get 13 week guarantees; shorter orders may have shorter guarantees provided the company requests a waiver from the WGA. Quiz & Audience and Other Non-Dramatic series have weekly minimums, though 13-week guarantees are not required. A 1.2% residual will apply to reuse on SVOD after 26 weeks.
The Guild has the right to negotiate initial compensation terms and residuals for existing Daytime Serials that move to subscription streaming services in the same way as it negotiates for Appendix A and low budget dramatic shows on basic cable.
Questions?Scroll to Top
What if the company isn’t paying me what this FAQ suggests is required?
Please call (323-782-4501) or email our Contracts Department so that we can make sure you get the benefit of these negotiated improvements.
What if I have another question about the tentative agreement or the strike settlement agreement that is not covered in this FAQ?
Please call (323-782-4501) or email our Contracts Department.