UPDATED with clarification: The ongoing Writers Guild strike “could be costing about $30 million a day in lost output,” according to WGA East VP Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, who said in a message sent today to WGA members that that’s “based on prior estimates.” That estimate, the guild says, is based on the Milken Institute’s estimate that the 2007-08 strike cost an estimated $2.1 billion in lost output from Q4 2007 to the end of 2008.”
Over the 100 days of the previous strike, that’s $21 million per day — and the $30 million is factoring in inflation, the WGA said. And output is a valuation of economic production. If that’s accurate, the 14-day-old strike already might have cost the economy over $400 million in “lost output” and could cost the companies $3 billion if it lasts 100 days.
A studio source told Deadline: “We don’t even know what that unverified number means. It’s obviously an attempt to generate a salacious headline.”
That strike cost Los Angeles County nearly that much alone. According to the late Jack Kyser, who then was chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the previous Writer Guild work stoppage cost California $2.5 billion in lost economic output.
The current strike shows no sign of abating, with the production of TV shows shutting down across the country.
“Holy shirtballs, you are some mother-forking superstars!” Cullen wrote in her message to members. “Here we are, two weeks into this strike, and the whole world knows of our struggle. My deli guy asked about it, and here in Jersey that means something. Everyone knows the WGA is striking, and why: because the studios refuse to pay us what we’re worth.”
Cullen, who is the WGA East’s VP Film, TV and Streaming, also noted that the WGA will be holding a Zoom membership meeting Thursday.