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The Costs of the Hollywood Actors’ Strike

The $134 billion American film and television industry has come to a standstill after the Hollywood Actors Guild voted to strike, enlisting writers and shutting down virtually all productions.

The move reflects the growing aggressiveness of the US labor movement, which has fought Starbucks, Amazon, UPS and others. In this particular case, the dispute involves one of the most high-profile industries and shows no sign of compromise.

The Actors Guild has accused the studio of refusing to bend over important issues. This includes higher payouts from streaming titles and explicit limits on the use of artificial intelligence. Television actor Fran Drescher, who now heads the SAG-AFTRA union, said yesterday, “By donating hundreds of millions of dollars to CEOs, they’re losing money left and right, and they’re thinking how poor they are.” are you suing?” he said. “That’s disgusting. Shame on them!”

The studio claims the union’s demands are unrealistic. Considering the challenges facing the entertainment industry, from streaming to the aftermath of the pandemic. “This is the worst time of the world as chaos accelerates further.” Bob Iger, Disney CEOsaid yesterday on CNBC. (More on him later.)

Expect more comments like this when media companies report earnings next week.

Tinseltown’s glitz quickly faded. The cast of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ left midway through the film’s London premiere, as actors are now prohibited from promoting their own films. The campaign for the Emmy-nominated show, which was just announced Wednesday, was also suspended.

This will affect other industries in Hollywood such as advertising and talent agencies, celebrity and industry publications, and film festivals. ” celebrity factory closedJanice Min, head of entertainment publication Ankler, told Vanity Fair. “If this goes on for a long time, you’ll feel it all over the internet.”

In a sense, a strike could actually happen advantage studios and streaming platforms. A lack of new shows and movies could mean that expensive production deals signed during the content boom could be rescinded.

But the longer the strike goes on, the more viewers could become frustrated by the lack of freshly scripted content. (Fall TV shows are filled with reality shows and game shows.) Streaming giants with huge libraries may be fine, but services with low inventories could face a flood of cancellations, while other Studios selling to the platform may find themselves in more and more trouble.

The SEC’s crypto crackdown hits a setback. Regulators insist digital assets should be treated as securities, A judge ruled yesterday that cryptocurrency company Ripple did not violate securities laws when selling its token XRP on public exchanges. Elsewhere, Alex Mashinsky, founder of bankrupt cryptocurrency finance company Celsias, was arrested on charges of fraud and falsehood about the company’s business model.

Aspartame has been declared a potential carcinogenic risk. The World Health Organization has joined the lab to announce that widely used artificial sweeteners are potential carcinogens. Experts disagree about what constitutes a dangerous intake level, but Wall Street analysts said the warning could hurt sales of diet soda and other products. there is

Tucker Carlson is reportedly planning to start a new media company. Neil Patel, a former Fox News host and White House adviser under George W. Bush, is looking to raise money for subscription ventures. According to The Wall Street Journal.Last month, Carlson once again made headlines on Twitter’s version of Fox’s hit show, whose audience plummeting.

A day after Bob Iger extended his tenure as Disney CEO by two years, the entertainment mogul has suggested that the media giant is considering a bigger transformation. potential deal For other channels such as ESPN and ABC.

The remarks suggest that Iger, who oversaw some of Disney’s big acquisitions, could make more deals, albeit as a seller. The big question is who will he be with?

Iger under pressure to turn Disney’s fortunes around After laying off thousands and cutting costs. Although he fended off a challenge from activist investor Nelson Peltz, shareholders aren’t happy with Disney’s sluggish stock.

The Eiger transformation looks like this:

  • Disney could sell its stake in ESPN, which has been struggling with plummeting cable subscriber numbers, to partners who can improve the sports network’s online reach and help pay for increasingly expensive broadcast rights. . Leading candidates are tech giants with online video platforms, including Apple (a much-rumored acquisition of Disney, antitrust concerns aside), Google and Amazon.

  • Buyers of cable channels such as ABC and FX are less obvious, as a deal with another media giant could draw opposition from antitrust regulators. Wells Fargo analyst Stephen Cahall speculated: private equity or hedge funds Tempted by the company’s steady cash flow and the opportunity to cut margins (much like newspapers), you might jump at it.

How serious is the Iger about selling? His comments may have been intended to test investor reaction. (He has previously said that Disney intends to do so after hinting that it may sell its majority stake in Hulu.) Likely to buy Comcast stock ) Disney stock barely rose yesterday in response to his remarks.

But Iger has been pessimistic about traditional TV for some time now. “Linear TV is headed for a big cliff and it will be pushed off,” he said. mentioned at the code conference last year. “I can’t say when, but it will go away.”


A tough week for FTC Chairman Rina Khan ended with a shooting at the Capitol. She lost a bid Tuesday to block Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. The regulator has appealed the ruling, but delay a transaction The challenge was heeded, but rejected.

But the FTC, despite facing a legal battle over one dispute, has launched another, launching an investigation into ChatGPT maker OpenAI over whether chatbots are harming consumers. bottom.

The news means attention will be focused on Mr Khan’s appearance on the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, which was billed as an investigation into Mr Khan’s “misgovernment” after a string of failed legal challenges. Was. But the hearing revealed surprising support from some of her cross-examiners.

Republicans questioned her tactics. Khan was asked why the FTC would appeal Microsoft’s ruling even though other jurisdictions, such as the European Union, have approved the deal. (She declined to comment.) Khan also faced accusations and threats. “Chairman, action comes with consequences,” warned Virginia Republican Rep. Ben Klein, who said the Appropriations Committee is reviewing the FTC’s budget request, responding to the agency’s “class partisanship.” said it was allocating less budget than it had asked for. She was not given the opportunity to reply to Mr Khan.

But Khan found some unexpected fans. “I want to encourage you in your work,” Matt Gates, a conservative Republican from Florida and fellow attorney, told her. He praised the crackdown on data brokers that sell sensitive information. Mr. Gates added that losing legal cases is common when faced with new issues, and urged Mr. Khan to seek help from Congress “when the law is inadequate.”

Others praised Khan’s tough stance on big tech. Colorado Republican Ken Buck said Khan, unlike some of his congressional colleagues, has no financial ties to tech companies. He said of companies like Google and Meta, “They spent $250 million on legislation that passed this committee in the last Congress.”

Mr Buck and Mr Khan both said they knew “The need to update antitrust laws for the new economy,” giving Mr. Khan the opportunity to say that today’s rules are based on premises that are unsuitable for the digital age.

  • In other news: UK antitrust authorities blocked a deal with Microsoft in April but reopened the investigation the day after the US court’s ruling. extend the deadline Start the study by 6 weeks. According to reports, the company Sell ​​UK cloud gaming rights for approval.


Amid heightened regulatory scrutiny, the PGA Tour was among the binding clauses in its interim contract with the Saudi-backed LIV golf league — an anti-poaching agreement that could have been legally questionable. discarded.

The provision was supposed to cover Tour and LIV players, as reported by The Times’ Alan Blinder, Kevin Draper and Dealbook’s Lauren Hirsch, but was removed to curb the Justice Department’s anger. It is said to have been shelved.

The non-solicitation clause was seen as a way to prevent tour golfers from leaving the LIV. It used huge prize money to lure top players into the breakaway leagues. (Rory McIlroy, one of LIV golf’s fiercest opponents, said yesterday that he would rather quit the game than play in rival competition despite the wealth on offer. ) The White House accepts such an agreement. Former FTC Chairman William E. Kovacic told Dealbook that the language “appears to fit right in with the Department of Justice’s sweeping vision for its anti-poaching enforcement program.”

There was even more questionable language at this week’s Senate hearings. Participation by PGA Tour officials. Antitrust experts focused on the comments of Piper Sandler vice chairman Jimmy Dunne, an executive of the Tour. He testified before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that he feared the well-funded LIV would “destroy tours” and necessitate partnership talks.

Gerald Martman, who heads the workplace class action group at law firm Duane Morris, said such remarks underscored concerns that the deal was entered into to strengthen the tour’s market lock. He told Dealbook that it could. “From an antitrust perspective, a loose lip could sink a ship,” he said.

Information of sale

  • exxon mobil agreed to buy Acquired by carbon capture company Denbury for $4.9 billion. (Reuters)

  • Adobe’s $20 billion bid for Figma is in jeopardy thorough investigation By the UK Antitrust Authority. (The Verge)

  • Silicon Valley startups are exploring Selling to big companies Venture capital is drying up. (FT)

policy

  • James BullardSt. Louis Fed President resigns and becomes Dean of Purdue Business School. (Reuters)

  • “Love with big tech company” low tax state under threat,” (WSJ)

best of the rest

  • “‘Laws of War’: Inside the U.S. Silicon Blockade Against China” (NYT)

  • Businesses are pulling out of London’s Canary Wharf, reflecting widespread changes that are also affecting office districts in cities such as New York and Chicago. (New York Times)

  • Winner of tomorrow’s Wimbledon women’s final again first grand slam champion — It’s been happening since 2017, when Serena Williams won her last major (WSJ)

We appreciate your feedback. Please email your comments and suggestions to dealbook@nytimes.com.

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