Hollywood Employment Down Over 15% Due to Streaming Services

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Hollywood Employment Down Over 15% Due to Streaming Services

By Movieguide® Contributor

A recent study into Hollywood trends found that jobs in the entertainment industry are down nearly 20%, and streaming services are more to blame than the strikes.

“The recent WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes caused a major rupture in Hollywood, but they represented an expression of underlying changes that have been shaping the industry for the past decades,” a study from the Otis College of Art and Design said. “Many insiders believe that these changes will continue in the coming years, further transforming the industry’s core business model and its relationship to its workers.”

This long-coming change centers around Wall Street’s unwillingness to continue to fund unprofitable streaming platforms. This has resulted in a downsizing of the industry, which has already begun to manifest itself across Hollywood.

“From May 2023 (when the Writer’s Guild first took strike action) to October 2023, there was a 17% drop in the number of workers employed in the Entertainment Industry in Greater Los Angeles,” the study revealed, and those jobs are not soon to return.

In the past half-decade, most entertainment conglomerates decided to try their hand at a streaming platform. With a desire to replicate Netflix’s quarter-of-a-billion subscriber pull, they poured a seemingly endless amount of money into projects that could help them stand out.

Per Deadline, this arms race led to a peak in production in 2016, which was nearly matched in 2022 following the pandemic. However, as streaming platforms began to realize that uncontrollable growth has an upper limit, they began collectively shifting their business strategies toward profitability, drying up their coffers.

“It turns out that having Wall Street write you a blank check for 10 years while you are creating a new business…is not something that’s replicable, or Wall Street doesn’t want to replicate that,” an anonymous insider told researchers. “So the rest of the streamers are sort of beholden to their shareholders to make money immediately…because of that we’re going to see a contraction in the amount of stuff made.”

While the situation was inevitable, this problem is further emphasized by the newly passed WGA and SAG-AFTRA contracts which require streamers to pay residuals for successful shows, further increasing the contraction of the industry.

Actors and writers are not the only people affected by the loss of jobs. The study found that camera operators, editors and other crew members have had fewer job opportunities as the industry begins to squeeze.

However, directors, producers and agents have had a sharp increase in job opportunities since the industry returned from the strikes.

Though jobs with streaming platforms will now be harder to come by, those in the entertainment industry still have a bright future. Already, there has been an uptick in alternative media creation, such as podcasting and lower-budget projects – a shift that is likely to continue in the coming years.

Movieguide® previously reported on job loss in Hollywood:

The WGA strike finished last week, but for the 11,000 writers returning to work, it may prove harder to find a job than before they joined the picket lines.

While the contract deal that brought writers back to work constitutes a minimum number of writers for each show, networks will likely reduce the number of shows they produce to save themselves money. 

“For shows that have been greenlit with six or fewer episodes, studios are now required to employ at least three writers and three writer-producers. For shows with seven to 12 episodes, the minimum is five writers and three writer-producers. For shows with more than 13 episodes, the minimum increases to six writers and three writer-producers,” TODAY reported

Industry experts believe that there will not be many new scripts bought heading into the next year, a trend foreshadowed by the market as the strikes began.

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