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Will the AMPTP Crack?

AMPTP president Carol Lombardini.
AMPTP president Carol Lombardini. Photo: Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Jonathan Handel
September 11, 2023

Hollywood as we know it is falling to pieces—and with it perhaps goes the AMPTP, the streamers and studios’ official bargaining unit. It’s not just this summer’s two seemingly endless strikes, probably soon to be joined by a SAG-AFTRA vs. video game walkout. Nor is it just the latest back-and-forth between the WGA and AMPTP: while the guild told members on Friday that individual companies are willing to negotiate separately, the alliance, led by Carol Lombardini, responded frostily that it is “unified.” Her response flicks at a requirement—perhaps tucked away in its elusive bylaws—that the organization will act only given unanimous agreement by the AMPTP’s eight so-called Class A members. That empowers the organization to more readily say no than yes.

Of course, this is all just the labor tip of the iceberg. Two months ago, Disney C.E.O. Bob Iger said publicly what should be obvious to everyone: linear networks aren’t core to his company’s business. And now he’s in a dispute with Chris Winfrey’s Charter Communications that will either bring higher carriage fees to Disney, or lead Charter to abandon the cable TV business altogether to focus on its internet service provider operations. This business is getting scary for the traditional studios.